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" We have offended, Oh ! my countrymen ! 

We^have offended very grievously, 

And been most tyrannous. From east to west 

A groan of accusation pierces Heaven ! 

The wretched plead against us ; multitudes, 

Countless and vehement, the sons of God, 

Our brethren ! 





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833 ? 

By Allen and Ticenor, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. 

Tuttle & Weeks, Printers, 
No. 8, School Street. 




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Reader, I beseech you not to throw down this volume 
as soon as you have glanced at the title. Read it, if your 
prejudices will allow, for th& very truth's sake : — If I have 
the most trifling claims upon your good will, for an hour's 
amusement to yourself, or benefit to your children, read 
it for my sake : — Read it, if it be merely to find fresh oc- 
casion to sneer at the vulgarity of the cause : — Read it, from 
sheer curiosity to see what a woman (who had much better 
attend to her household concerns) will say upon such a sub- 
ject: — Read it, on any terms, and my purpose will be gained. 

The subject I have chosen admits of no encomiums on my 
country ; but as I generally make it an object to supply what 
is most needed, this circumstance is unimportant ; the market 
is so glutted with flattery, that a little truth may be acceptable, 
were it only for its rarity. 

I am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have 
undertaken ; but though I expect ridicule and censure, I 
cannot fear them. 

A few years hence, the opinion of the world will be a 
matter in which I have not even the most transient interest ; 
but this book will be abroad on its mission of humanity, long 
after the hand that wrote it is mingling with the dust. 

Should it be the means of advancing, even one single hour, 
the inevitable progress of truth and justice, I would not ex- 
change the consciousness for all Rothchild's wealth, or Sir 
Walter's fame. 





The lot is wretched, the condition sad, 

Whether a pining discontent survive, 

And thirst for change ; or habit hath subdued 

The soul depressed ; dejected — even to love 

Of her dull tasks and close captivity. Wordsworth. 

My ear is pained, 
My soul is sick with every day's report 
Of wrong and outrage, with which this earth is filled. 
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart, 
It does not feel for man. Cow per. 

While the Portuguese were exploring Africa, in 1442, 
Prinee Henry ordered Anthony Gonsalez to carry back 
certain Moorish prisoners, whom he had seized two years 
before near Cape Bajador : this order was obeyed, and 
Gonsalez received from the Moors, in exchange for the 
captives, ten negroes, and a quantity of gold dust. Un- 
luckily, this wicked speculation proved profitable, and 
other Portuguese were induced to embark in it. 

In 1492, the West India islands were discovered by 
Columbus. The Spaniards, dazzled with the acquisition 
of a new world and eager to come into possession of 
their wealth, compelled the natives of Hispaniola to dig 
in the mines. The native Indians died rapidly, in con- 
sequence of hard work and cruel treatment ; and thus a 
new market was opened for the negro slaves captured by 
the Portuguese. They were accordingly introduced as 



early as 1503. Those who bought and those who sold 
were alike prepared to trample on the rights of their 
fellow beings, by that most demoralizing of all influences, 
the accursed love of gold. 

Cardinal Xiinenes, while he administered the govern- 
ment, before the accession of Charles the Fifth, was peti- 
tioned to allow a regular commerce in African negroes. 
But he rejected the proposal with promptitude and firmness, 
alike honorable to his head and heart. This earliest friend 
of the Africans, living in a comparatively unenlightened 
age, has peculiar claims upon our gratitude and reverence. 
In 1517, Charles the Fifth granted a patent"; for an annual 
supply of four thousand negroes to the Spanish islands. 
He probably soon became aware of the horrible, and ever- 
increasing evils, attendant upon this traffic ; for twenty- 
five years after he emancipated every negro in his domin- 
ions. But when he resigned his crown and retired to 
a monastery, the colonists resumed their shameless 

Captain Hawkins, afterward Sir John Hawkins, was 
the first Englishman, who disgraced himself and his 
country by this abominable trade. Assisted by some rich 
people in London, he fitted out three ships, and sailed to 
the African coast, where he burned and plundered the 
towns, and carried off three hundred of the defenceless 
inhabitants to Hispaniola. 

Elizabeth afterwards authorized a similar adventure 
with one of her own vessels. "She expressed her concern 
lest any of the Africans should be carried off without 
their free consent ; declaring that such a thing would be 
detestable, and call down the vengeance of Heaven 
upon the undertakers." For this reason, it has been 
supposed that the Queen was deceived — that she imag- 
ined the negroes were transported to the Spanish colonies 
as voluntary laborers. But history gives us slight rea- 
sons to judge Elizabeth so favorably. It was her system 
always to preserve an appearance of justice and virtue. 
She was a shrewd, far-sighted politician ; and had in 
perfection the clear head and cold heart calculated to 
form that character. Whatever she might believe of the 
trade at its beginning, she was too deeply read in human 


nature, not to foresee the inevitable consequence of 
placing power in the hands of avarice. 

A Roman priest persuaded Louis the Thirteenth to 
sanction slavery for the sake of converting the negroes to 
Christianity ; and thus this bloody iniquity, disguised 
with gown, hood, and rosary, entered the fair dominions 
of France. To be violently wrested from his home, and 
condemned to toil without hope, by Christians, to whom 
he had done no wrong, was, methinks, a very odd 
beginning to the poor negro's course of religious in- 
struction ! 

When this evil had once begun, it, of course, gathered 
strength rapidly ; for all the bad passions of human na- 
ture were eagerly enlisted in its cause. The British 
formed settlements in North America, and in the West 
Indies ; and these were stocked with slaves. From 1880 
to 1786 two million , one hundred and thirty thousand 
negroes were imported into the British colonies ! 

In almost all great evils there is some redeeming fea- 
ture — some good results, even where it is not intend- 
ed : pride and vanity, utterly selfish and wrong in them- 
selves, often throw money into the hands of the poor, and 
thus tend to excite industry and ingenuity, while they 
produce comfort. But slavery is all evil — within and 
without — root and branch, — bud, blossom and fruit! 

In order to show how dark it is in every aspect — how 
invariably injurious both to nations and individuals, — I 
will select a few facts from the mass of evidence now 
before me. 

In the first place, its effects upon Africa have been 
most disastrous. All along the coast, intercourse with 
Europeans has deprived the inhabitants of their primitive 
simplicity, without substituting in its place the order, 
refinement, and correctness of principle, attendant upon 
true civilization. The soil of Africa is rich in native 
productions, and honorable commerce might have been 
a blessing to her, to Europe, and to America ; but instead 
of that, a trade has been substituted, which operates like 
a withering curse, upon all concerned in it. 

There are green and sheltered valleys in Africa, — 
broad and beautiful rivers, — - and vegetation in its love- 


liest and most magnificent forms. — But no comfortable 
houses, no thriving farms, no cultivated gardens ; —for 
it is not safe to possess permanent property, where each 
little state is surrounded by warlike neighbors, continu- 
ally sending out their armed bands in search of slaves. 
The white man offers his most tempting articles of mer- 
chandize to the negro, as a price for the flesh and blood 
of his enemy ; and if we, with all our boasted knowledge 
and religion, are seduced by money to do such grievous 
wrong to those who have never offended us, what can 
we expect of men just emerging from the limited wants 
of savage life, too uncivilized to have formed any habits 
of steady industry, yet earnestly coveting the productions 
they know not how to earn ? The inevitable consequence 
is, that war is made throughout that unhappy continent, 
not only upon the slightest pretences, but often without 
any pretext at all. Villages are set on fire, and those 
who fly from the flames rush upon the spears of the enemy. 
Private kidnapping is likewise carried on to a great ex- 
tent; for he who can catch a neighbor's child is sure to 
find a ready purchaser ; and it sometimes happens that 
the captor and his living merchandize are both seized by 
the white slave-trader. Houses are broken open in the 
night, and defenceless women and children carried away 
into captivity. If boys, in the unsuspecting innocence of 
youth, come near the white man's ships, to sell vegeta- 
bles or fruit, they are ruthlessly seized and carried to 
slavery in a distant land. Even the laws are perverted 
to this shameful purpose. If a chief wants European 
commodities, he accuses a parent of witchcraft ; the vic- 
tim is tried by the ordeal of poisoned water;* and if he 
sicken at the draught, the king claims a right to punish 
him by selling his whole family. In African legislation, 
almost all crimes are punished with slavery ; and, thanks 
to the white man's rapacity, there is always a very pow- 
erful motive for finding the culprit guilty. He must be 
a very good king indeed, that judges his subjects impar- 
tially, when he is sure of making money by doing other- 
wise ! 

* Judicial trials by the ordeal of personal combat, in which the 
vanquished were always pronounced guilty, occurred as late as 
the sixteenth century both in France and England. 


The king of Dahomy, and other despotic princes, do 
not scruple to seize their own people and sell them, with- 
out provocation, whenever they happen to want anything, 
which slave-ships can furnish. If a chief has conscience 
enough to object to such proceedings, he is excited by 
presents of gun-powder and brandy. One of these men, 
who could not resist the persuasions of the slave traders 
while he was intoxicated, was conscience-stricken when 
he recovered his senses, and bitterly reproached his 
Christian seducers. One negro king, debarred by his 
religion from the use of spiritous liquors, and therefore 
less dangerously tempted than others, abolished the slave 
trade throughout his dominions, and exerted himself to 
encourage honest industry ; but his people must have 
been as sheep among wolves. 

Relentless bigotry brings its aid to darken the horrors 
of the scene. The Mohammedans deem it right to subject 
the heathen tribes to perpetual bondage. The Moors 
and Arabs think Alia and the Prophet have given them 
an undisputed right to the poor CarYre, his wife, his 
children, and his goods. But mark how the slave-trade 
deepens even the fearful gloom of bigotry ! These Mo-< 
hammedans are by no means zealous to enlighten their 
Pagan neighbors — they do not wish them to come to 
a knowledge of what they consider the true religion — 
lest they should forfeit the only ground, on which they 
can even pretend to the right of driving them by thou* 
sands to the markets of Kano and Tripoli. 

This is precisely like our own conduct. We say the 
negroes are so ignorant that they must be slaves ; and we 
insist upon keeping them ignorant, lest we spoil them for 
slaves. The same spirit that dictates this logic to the 
Arab, teaches it to the European and the American > — 
Call it what you please — it is certainly neither of heaven 
nor of earth. 

When the slave ships are lying on the coast of Africa, 
canoes well armed are sent into the inland country, and 
after a few weeks they return with hundreds of negroes, 
tied fast with ropes. Sometimes the white men lurk 
among the bushes, and seize the wretched beings who 
incautiously venture from their homes ; sometimes they 



paint their skins as black as their hearts, and by this de- 
ception suddenly surprise the unsuspecting natives ; at 
other times the victims are decoyed on board the vessel, 
under some kind pretence or other, and then lashed to 
the mast, or chained in the hold. Is it not very natural 
for the Africans to say " devilish white" 1 

All along the shores of this devoted country, terror and 
distrust prevail. The natives never venture out without 
arms, when a vessel is in sight, and skulk through their 
own fields, as if watched by a panther. All their worst 
passions are called into full exercise, and all their kind- 
lier feelings smothered. Treachery, fraud and violence 
desolate the country, rend asunder the dearest relations, 
and pollute the very fountains of justice. The history 
of the negro, whether national or domestic, is written 
in blood. Had half the skill and strength employed in 
the slave-trade been engaged in honorable commerce, 
the native princes would long ago have directed their 
energies toward clearing the country, destroying wild 
beasts, and introducing the arts and refinements of civil- 
ized life. Under such influences, Africa might become 
an earthly paradise ; — the white man's avarice has made 
it a den of wolves. 

Having thus glanced at the miserable effects of this 
system on the condition of Africa, we will now follow the 
poor slave through his wretched wanderings, in order to 
give some idea of his physical suffering, his mental, and 
moral degradation. 

Husbands are torn from their wives, children from 
their parents, while the air is filled with the shrieks and 
lamentations of the bereaved. Sometimes they are 
brought from a remote country ; obliged to wander over 
mountains and through deserts ; chained together in 
herds ; driven by the whip ; scorched by a tropical 
sun ; compelled to carry heavy bales of merchandize ; 
suffering with hunger and thirst : worn down with 
fatigue : and often leaving their bones to whiten in the 
desert. A large troop of slaves, taken by the Sultan of 
Fezzan, died in the desert for want of food. In some 
places, travellers meet with fifty or sixty skeletons in a 
day, of which the largest proportion were no doubt slaves, 


on their way to European markets. Sometimes the poor 
creatures refuse to go a step further, and even the lacer- 
ating whip cannot goad them on ; in such cases, they 
become the prey of wild beasts, more merciful than 
white men. 

Those who arrive at the sea-coast, are in a state of 
desperation and despair. Their purchasers are so well 
aware of this, and so fearful of the consequences, that 
they set sail in the night, lest the negroes should know 
when they depart from their native shores. 

And here the scene becomes almost too harrowing to 
dwell upon. But we must not allow our nerves to be 
more tender than our consciences. The poor wretches 
are stowed by hundreds, like bales of goods, between the 
low decks, where filth and putrid air produce disease, 
madness, and suicide. Unless they die in great num- 
bers, the slave captain does not even concern himself 
enough to fret ; his live stock cost nothing, and he is 
sure of such a high price for what remains at the end of 
the voyage, that he can afford to lose a good many. 

The following account is given by Dr Walsh, who ac- 
companied Viscount Strangford, as chaplain, on his 
embassy to Brazil. The vessel in which he sailed chased 
a slave ship; for to the honor of England be it said, she 
has asked and obtained permission from other govern- 
ments to treat as pirates such of their subjects as are 
discovered carrying on this guilty trade north of the 
equator. Doctor Walsh was an eye witness of the scene 
he describes ; and the evidence given, at various times, 
before the British House of Commons, proves that the 
frightful picture is by no means exaggerated. 

" The vessel had taken in, on the coast of Africa, three 
hundred and thirtysix males, and two hundred and twen- 
tysix females, making in all five hundred and sixtytwo ; 
she had been out seventeen days, during which she had 
thrown overboard fiftyfive. They were all inclosed under 
grated hatchways, between decks. The space was so 
low, and they were stowed so close together, that there 
was no possibility of lying down, or changing their po- 
sition, night or day. The greater part of them were 
shut out from light and air ; and this when the ther- 


mometer, exposed to the open sky, was standing, in the 
shade on our deck, at eightynine degrees. 

" The space between decks was divided into two com- 
partments, three feet three inches high. Two hundred and 
twenty six women and girls" were thrust into one space twa 
hundred and eightyeight feet square ; and three hundred 
and thirtysix men and boys were crammed into another 
space eight hundred feet square ; giving the whole an av- 
erage of twenty three inches ; and to each of the women not 
more than thirteen inches ; though several of them were 
in a state of health, which peculiarly demanded pity. — 
As they were shipped on account of different individuals, 
they were branded like sheep, with the owner's marks of 
different forms ; which, as the mate informed me with 
perfect indifference, had been burnt in with red-hot iron. 
Over the hatch-way stood a ferocious looking fellow, the 
slave-driver of the ship, with a scourge of many-twisted 
thongs in his hand ; whenever he heard the slightest 
noise from below, he shook it over them, and seemed 
eager to exercise it. 

"As soon as the poor creatures saw us looking down at 
them, their melancholy visages brightened up. They 
perceived something of sympathy and kindness in our 
looks, to which they had not been accustomed ; and 
feeling instinctively that we were friends, they immedi- 
ately began to shout and clap their hands. The women 
were particularly excited. They all held up their arms, 
and when we bent down and shook hands with them 5 
they could not contain their delight ; they endeavored to 
scramble upon their knees, stretching up to kiss our 
hands, and we understood they knew we had come to 
liberate them. Some, however, hung down their heads 
in apparently hopeless dejection ; some were greatly 
emaciated ; and some, particularly children, seemed 
dying. The heat of these horrid places was so great, 
and the odor so offensive, that it was quite impossible to 
enter them, even had there been room. 

The officers insisted that the poor, suffering creatures 
should be admitted on deck to get air and water. This 
was opposed by the mate of the slaver, who (from a feeling 
that they deserved it, ) declared they should be all mur- 


dered. The officers, however, persisted, and the poor 
beings were all turned out together. It is impossible to 
conceive the effect of this eruption — five hundred and 
seventeen fellow-creatures, of all ages and sexes, some chil- 
dren, some adults, some old men and women, all entirely 
destitute of clothing, scrambling out together to taste the 
luxury of a little fresh air and water. They came swarm- 
ing up, like bees from a hive, till the whole deck was 
crowded to suffocation from stem to stern ; so that it was 
impossible to imagine where they could all have come 
from, or how they could have been stowed away. On 
looking into the places where they had been crammed, 
there were found some children next the sides of the 
ship, in the places most remote from light and air ; they 
were lying nearly in a torpid state, after the rest had 
turned out. The little creatures seemed indifferent as to 
life or death ; and when they w T ere carried on deck, 
many of them could not stand. After enjoying for a 
short time the unusual luxury of air, some water was 
brought ; it was then that the extent of their sufferings 
was exposed in a fearful manner. They all rushed like 
maniacs towards it. No entreaties, or threats, or blows, 
could restrain them; they shrieked, and struggled, and 
fought with one another, for a drop of this precious liquid, 
as if they grew rabid at the sight of it. There is nothing 
from which slaves in the mid-passage suffer so much as 
want of water. It is sometimes usual to take out casks 
filled with sea-water as ballast, and when the slaves are 
received on board, to start the casks, and re-fill them with 
fresh. On one occasion, a ship from Bahia neglected to 
change the contents of their casks, and on the mid-pas- 
sage found, to their horror, that they were filled with 
nothing but salt water. All the slaves on board perished ! 
We could judge of the extent of their sufferings from the 
afflicting sight we now saw. When the poor creatures 
were ordered down again, several of them came, and 
pressed their heads against our knees, with looks of the 
greatest anguish, with the prospect of returning to the 
horrid place of suffering; below." 

Alas ! the slave-captain proved by his papers that he 
confined his traffic strictly to the south of the Line, 


where it was yet lawful ; perhaps his papers were forged ; 
but the English officers were afraid to violate an article 
of the treaty, which their government had made with 
Brazil. Thus does cunning wickedness defeat benevo- 
lence and justice in this world ! Dr Walsh continues : 
" With infinite regret, therefore, we were obliged to re- 
store his papers to the captain, and permit him to proceed, 
after nine hours' detention and close investigation. It 
was dark when we separated, and the last parting sounds 
we heard from the unhallowed ship, were the cries and 
shrieks of the slaves, suffering under some bodily inflic- 

I suppose the English officers acted politically right ; 
but not for the world's wealth, would I have acted politi- 
cally right, under such circumstances !* 

Arrived at the place of destination, the condition of 
the slave is scarcely less deplorable. They are adver- 
tised with cattle ; chained in droves, and driven to mar- 
ket with a whip ; and sold at auction, with the beasts of 
the field. They are treated like brutes, and all the 
influences around them conspire to make them brutes. 

" Some are employed as domestic slaves, when and how 
the owner pleases ; by day or by night, on Sunday or 
other days, in any measure or degree, with any remune- 
ration or with none, with what kind or quantity of food 
the owner of the human beast may choose. Male or 
female, young or old, weak or strong, may be punished 
with or without reason, as caprice or passion may prompt. 
When the drudge does not suit, he may be sold for some 
inferior purpose, like a horse that has seen his best days, 
till like a worn-out beast he dies, unpitied and forgotten ! 
Kept in ignorance of the holy precepts and divine con- 
solations of Christianity, he remains a Pagan in a Chris- 
tian land, without even an object of idolatrous worship — 
( having no hope, and without God in the world.' " 

* Dr Walsh's book on Brazil was published in 1831. He says : 
" Notwithstanding the benevolent and persevering exertions of 
England, this horrid traffic in human flesh is nearly as extensively 
carried on as ever, and under circumstances perhaps of a more re- 
volting character. The very shifts at evasion, the necessity for 
concealment, and the desperate hazard, cause inconvenience and 
sufferings to the poor creatures in a very aggravated degree." 


c From the moment the slave is kidnapped, to the last 
hour he draws his miserable breath, the white man's 
influence directly cherishes ignorance, fraud, treachery, 
theft, licentiousness, revenge, hatred and murder. It 
cannot be denied that human nature thus operated upon, 
must necessarily yield, more or less, to all these evils. — 
And thus do we dare to treat beings, who, like ourselves, 
are heirs of immortality ! 

And now let us briefly inquire into the influence of 
slavery on the white man's character ; for in this evil 
there is a mighty re-action. " Such is the constitution of 
things, that we cannot inflict an injury without suffering 
from it ourselves : he, who blesses another, benefits him- 
self; but he, who sins against his fellow creature, does 
his own soul a grievous wrong." The effect produced 
upon slave captains is absolutely frightful. Those who 
wish to realize it in all its awful extent, may find abun- 
dant information in Clarkson's History of Slavery : the 
authenticity of the facts there given cannot be doubted ; 
for setting aside the perfect honesty of Clarkson's char- 
acter, these facts were principally accepted as evidence 
before the British Parliament, where there was a very 
strong party of slave owners desirous to prove them false. 

Indeed when we reflect upon the subject, it cannot 
excite surprise that slave-captains become as hard hearted 
and fierce as tigers. The very first step in their business 
is a deliberate invasion of the rights of others ; its pur- 
suit combines every form of violence, bloodshed, tyranny 
and anguish ; they are accustomed to consider their vic- 
tims as cattle, or blocks of wood ;.* and they are invested 
with perfectly despotic powers. 

There is a great waste of life among white seamen 
employed in this traffic, in consequence of the severe 

* I have read letters from slave-captains to their employers, in 
which they declare that they shipped such a number of billets of 
wood, or pieces of ebony, on the coast of Africa. 

Near the office of the Richmond Enquirer in Virginia, an auction 
flag was hoisted one day this last winter, with the following curious 
advertisement : " On Monday the 11th inst., will be sold in front 
of the High Constable's office, one bright mulatto woman, about 
twenty six years of age ; also, some empty barrels, and sundry old 
candle boxes." 


punishment they receive, and diseases originating in the 
unwholesome atmosphere on board. Clarkson, after a 
long and patient investigation, came to the conclusion 
that two slave voyages to Africa, would destroy more 
seamen than eightythree to Newfoundland ; and there is 
this difference to be observed, that the loss in one trade 
is generally occasioned by weather or accident, in the 
other by cruelty or disease. The instances are exceed- 
ingly numerous of sailors on board slave-ships, that have 
died under the lash or in consequence of it. Some of 
the particulars are so painful that it has made me sicken 
to read them ; and I therefore forbear to repeat them. 
Of the Alexander's crew, in 1785, no less than eleven 
deserted at Bonny, on the African coast, because life had 
become insupportable. They chose all that could be en- 
dured from a most inhospitable climate, and the violence 
of the natives, rather than remain in their own ship. 
Nine others died on the voyage, and the rest were ex- 
ceedingly abused. This state of things was so universal 
that seamen were notoriously averse to enter the hateful 
business. In order to obtain them it became necessary 
to resort to force or deception. (Behold how many 
branches there are to the tree of crime !) Decoyed to 
houses where night after night was spent in dancing, 
rioting and drunkenness, the thoughtless fellows gave 
themselves up to the merriment of the scene, and in a 
moment of intoxication the fatal bargain was sealed. 
Encouraged to spend more than they owned, a jail or the 
slave-ship became the only alternatives. The superiority 
of wages was likewise a strong inducement ; but this 
was a cheat. The wages of the sailors were half paid 
in the currency of the country where the vessel carried 
her slaves ; and thus they were actually lower than in 
other trades, while they were nominally higher. 

In such an employment the morals of the seamen of 
course became corrupt, like their masters; and every 
species of fraud was thought allowable to deceive the 
ignorant Africans, by means of false weights, false mea- 
sures, adulterated commodities, and the like. 

Of the cruelties on board slave-ships, I will mention 
but a few instances ; though a large volume might be filled 


with such detestable anecdotes perfectly well authenti- 

" A child on board a slave-ship, of about ten months 
old, took sulk and would not eat ; the captain flogged it 
with a cat-o'-nine tails ; swearing that he would make it 
eat, or kill it From this, and other ill-treatment, the 
limbs swelled. He then ordered some water to be made 
hot to abate the swelling. But even his tender mercies 
were cruel. The cook, on putting his hand into the 
water, said it was too hot. Upon this the captain swore 
at him, and ordered the feet to be put in. This was 
done. The nails and skin came off. Oiled cloths were 
then put around them. The child was at length tied to 
a heavy log. Two or three days afterwards, the captain 
caught it up again, and repeated that he would make it 
eat, or kill it. He immediately flogged it again, and in 
a quarter of an hour it died. And after the babe was 
dead, whom should the barbarian select to throw, it over- 
board, but the wretched mother ! In vain she tried to 
avoid the office. He beat her, till he made her take up 
the child and carry it to the side of the vessel. She 
then dropped it into the sea, turning her head the other 
way, that she might not see it."* 

" In 1 780, a slave-trader, detained by contrary winds 
on the American coast, and in distress, selected one 
hundred and thirtytwo of his sick slaves, and threw them 
into the sea, tied together in pairs, that they might not 
escape by swimming. He hoped the Insurance Com- 
pany would indemnify him for his loss ; and in the law- 
suit, to which this gave birth, he observed that ' negroes 
cannot be considered in any other light than as beasts of 
burden ; and to lighten a vessel it is permitted to throw 
overboard its least valuable effects.' 

" Some of the unhappy slaves escaped from those who 
attempted to tie them, and jumped into the sea. One of 
them was saved by means of a cord thrown by the 
sailors of another vessel ; and the monster who murdered 
his innocent companions had the audacity to claim him 

*Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. 



as his property. The judges, either from shame, or a 
sense of justice, refused his demand."* 

Some people speculate in what are called refuse slaves ; 
i. e. the poor diseased ones. Many of them die in the 
piazzas of the auctioneers ; and sometimes, in the 
agonies of death, they are sold as low as a dollar. 

Even this is better than to be unprotected on the wide 
ocean in the power of such wild beasts as I have de- 
scribed. It may seem incredible to some that human 
nature is capable of so much depravity. But the con- 
fessions of pirates show how habitual scenes of blood 
and violence harden the heart of man ; and history 
abundantly proves that despotic power produces a 
fearful species of moral insanity. The wanton cru- 
elties of Nero, Caligula, Domitian, and many of the 
officers of the Inquisition, seem like the frantic acts of 

The public has, however, a sense of justice, which 
can never be entirely perverted. Since the time when 
Clarkson, Wilberforce and Fox made the horrors of the 
slave trade understood, the slave captain, or slave jockey 
is spontaneously and almost universally regarded with 
dislike and horror. Even in the slave-holding States it is 
deemed disreputable to associate with a professed slave- 
trader, though few perhaps would think it any harm to 
bargain with him. This public feeling makes itself felt 
so strongly, that men engaged in what is called the 
African traffic, kept it a secret, if they could, even be- 
fore the laws made it hazardous. 

No man of the least principle could for a moment 
think of engaging in such enterprises ; and if he have 
any feeling, it is soon destroyed by familiarity with 
scenes of guilt and anguish. The result is, that the 
slave-trade is a monopoly in the hands of the very 
wicked ; and this is one reason why it has always been 

Yet even the slave trade has had its champions — of 
course among those who had money invested in it. 

*The Abbe Gregoire's Inquiry into the Intellect and Morals of 


Politicians have boldly said that it was a profitable branch 
of commerce, and ought not to be discontinued on ac- 
count of the idle dreams of benevolent enthusiasts. They 
have argued before the House of Commons, that others 
would enslave the negroes, if the English gave it up — as 
if it were allowable for one man to commit a crime be- 
cause another was likely to do it ! They tell how merciful 
it is to bring the Africans away from the despotism and 
wars, which desolate their own continent ; but they do 
not add that the white man is himself the cause of these 
wars, nor do they prove our right to judge for another 
man where he will be the happiest. If the Turks, or the 
Algerines saw fit to exercise this right, they might 
carry away captive all the occupants of our prisons and 

Some of the advocates of this traffic maintained that 
the voyage from Africa to the slave-market, called the 
Middle Passage, was an exceedingly comfortable portion of 
existence. One went so far as to declare it " the happiest 
part of a negro's life." They aver that the Africans, on 
their way to slavery, are so merry, that they dance and sing. 
But upon a careful examination of witnesses, it was found 
that their singing consisted of dirge-like lamentations for 
their native land. One of the captains threatened to flog 
a woman, because the mournfulness of her song was too 
painful to him. After meals they jumped up in their 
irons for exercise. This was considered so necessary 
for their health, that they were whipped, if they refused 
to do it. And this was their dancing ! " I," said one of 
the witnesses, " was employed to dance the men, while 
another person danced the women." 

These pretences, ridiculous as they appear, are worth 
about as much as any of the arguments that can be 
brought forward in defence of any part of the slave sys- 

The engraving on the next page will help to give a 
vivid idea of the Elysium enjoyed by negroes, during the 
Middle Passage. Fig. A represents the iron hand-cuffs, 
which fasten the slaves together by means of a little bolt 
with a padlock. 

B represents the iron shackles by which the ancle of 



D rpgg^s^ajb 

V ~* '— " — — ■ - ■ ** 


one is made fast to the ancle of his next companion. 
Yet even thus secured, they do often jump into the sea, 
and wave their hands in triumph at the approach of 
death. E is a thumb-screw. The thumbs are put into two 
round holes at the top ; by turning a key a bar rises from 
C to D by means of a screw ; and the pressure becomes 
very painful. By turning it further, the blood is made 
to start ; and by taking away the key as at E, the tortured 
person is left in agony, without the means of helping 
himself, or being helped by others. This is applied in 
case of obstinacy, at the discretion of the captain. I, F, 
is a speculum oris. The dotted lines represent it when 
shut ; the black lines when open. It opens at G, H, by a 
screw below with a knob at the end of it. This instru- 
ment was used by surgeons to wrench open the mouth in 
case of lock-jaw. It is used in slave-ships to compel the 
negroes to take food; because a loss to the owners would 
follow their persevering attempts to die. K represents 
the manner of stowing in a slave-ship. 

According to Clarkson's estimate, about two and a half 
out of a hundred of human beings die annually, in the 
ordinary course of nature, including infants and the 
aged: but in an African voyage, where few babes and 
no old people are admitted, so that those shipped are at 
the firmest period of life, the annual mortality is forty- 
three in a hundred. In vessels that sail from Bonny, 
Benin, and the Calabars, whence a large proportion 
of slaves are brought, this mortality is so much increased 
by various causes, that eightysix in a hundred die yearly. 
He adds, " It is a destruction, which if general but for 
ten years, would depopulate the world, and extinguish the 
human race/ 5 

We next come to the influence of this diabolical sys- 
tem on the slave-owner ; and here I shall be cautioned 
that I am treading on delicate ground, because our own 
countrymen are slave holders. But I am yet to learn 
that wickedness is any the better for being our own. — 
Let the truth be spoken — and let those abide its pre- 
sence who can. 

The following is the testimony of Jefferson, who had 


good opportunities for observation, and who certainly 
Jiad no New England prejudices : " There must, doubt- 
less, be an unhappy influence on the manners of the 
people, produced by the existence of slavery among us. 
The whole commerce between master and slave is a per- 
petual exercise of the most boisterous passions ; the most 
unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading 
submission on the other. Our children see this, and learn 
to imitate it ; for man is an imitative animal. The parent 
storms ; the child looks on, catches the lineaments 
of wrath', puts on the same airs in a circle of smaller 
slaves, gives loose to the worst of passions; and thus 
nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot 
but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man 
must be a prodigy, who can retain his morals and man- 
ners undepraved in such circumstances. " 

In a community where all the labor is done by one 
class, there must of course be another class, who live in 
indolence ; and we all know how much people that have 
nothing to do are tempted by what the world calls 
pleasures ; the result is, that slave-holding states and 
colonies are proverbial for dissipation. Hence too the 
contempt for industry, which prevails in such a state of 
Society. Where none work but slaves, usefulness be- 
comes degradation. The wife of a respectable mechanic, 
who accompanied her husband from Massachusetts to 
the South, gave great offence to her new neighbors by 
performing her usual household avocations ; they begged 
feer to desist from it, (offering the services of their own 
blacks,) because the sight of a white person engaged in 
any labor was extremely injurious to the slaves ; they 
deemed it very important that the negroes should be 
taught, both by precept and example, that they alone 
were made to work ! 

Whether the undue importance attached to merely 
external gentility, and the increasing tendency to indo- 
lence and extravagance throughout this country, ought 
to be attributed, in any degree, to the same source, I am 
unable to say ; if any influence comes to us from the 
example and ridicule of the slave-holding States, it cer- 
tainly must be of this nature. 


There is another view of this system, which I cannot 
^unveil so completely as it ought to be. I shall be 
called bold for saying so much ; but the facts are so 
important, that it is a matter of conscience not to be 

The negro woman is unprotected either by law or 
public opinion. She is the property of her master, and 
her daughters are his property. They are allowed to 
have no conscientious scruples, no sense of shame, no 
regard for the feelings of husband, or parent; they must 
be entirely subservient to the will of their owner, on 
pain of being whipped as near unto death as will com- 
port with his interest, or quite to death, if it suit his 

Those who know human nature would be able to con- 
jecture the unavoidable result, even if it were not 
betrayed by the amount of mixed population. Think 
for a moment, what a degrading effect must be produced 
on the morals of both blacks and whites by customs like 
these ! 

Considering we live in the nineteenth century, it is 
indeed a strange state of society where the father sells 
his child, and the brother puts his sister up at auc- 
tion ! Yet these things are often practised in our re- 

Doctor Y/alsh, in his account of Brazil, tells an anec- 
dote of one of these fathers, who love their offspring at 
market price. " For many years," says he, i{ this man 
kept his son in slavery, and maintained the right to dis- 
pose of him, as he would of his mule. Being ill, how- 
ever, and near to die, he made his will, left his child 
his freedom, and apprised him of it. Some time after, 
he recovered, and having a dispute with the young man, 
he threatened to sell him with the rest of his stock. 
The son, determined to prevent this, assassinated his 
father in a wood, got possession of the will, demanded his 
freedom, and obtained it. This circumstance was per- 
fectly well known in the neighborhood, but no process 
was instituted against him. He was not chargeable, as 
I could hear, with any other delinquency than the hor- 
rible one of murdering his father to obtain his freedom." 


This forms a fine picture of the effects of slavery upon 
human relations!* 

I have more than once heard people, who had just 
returned from the South, speak of seeing a number of 
mulattoes in attendance where they visited, whose re- 
semblance to the head of the family was too striking not 
to be immediately observed. What sort of feeling must 
be excited in the minds of those slaves by being con- 
stantly exposed to the tyranny or caprice of their own 
brothers and sisters^ and by the knowledge that these 
near relations will, on a division of the estate, have power 
to sell them off with the cattle ? 

But the vices of white men eventually provide a 
scourge for themselves. They increase the negro race, 
but the negro can never increase theirs ; and this is one 
great reason why the proportion of colored population is 
always so large in slave-holding countries. As the ratio 
increases more and more every year, the colored people 
must eventually be the stronger party ; and when this 
result happens, slavery must either be abolished, or gov- 
ernment must furnish troops, of whose wages the free 
States must pay their proportion. 

As a proof of the effects of slavery on the temper, I 
will relate but very few anecdotes. 

The first happened in the Bahamas. It is extracted 
from a despatch of Mr Huskisson to the Governor of 
those islands : " Henry and Helen Moss have been found 
guilty of a misdemeanor, for their cruelty to their slave 
Kate ) and those facts of the case, which seem beyond 
dispute, appear to be as follows : 

*' Kate was a domestic slave, and is stated to have 
been guilty of theft : she is also accused of disobedience, 
in refusing to mend her clothes and da her work ; and 
this was the more immediate cause of her punishment. 
On the twentysecond of July, eighteen hundred and 
twentysix, she was confined in the stocks, and she was 
not released till the eighth of August following, being 

* A short time ago a reverend and very benevolent gentleman 
suggested as the subject of a book, The Beauty of Human Relations. 
What a bitter jest it would be, to send him this volume, with the 
information that I had complied with his request ! 


a period of seventeen days. The stocks were so construct- 
ed that she could not sit up or lie down at pleasure, and 
she remained in them night and day. During this period 
she was flogged repeatedly, one of the overseers thinks 
about six times ; and red pepper was rubbed upon her 
eyes, to prevent her sleeping. Tasks were given her, 
which, in the opinion of the same overseer, she was in- 
capable of performing ; sometimes because they were 
beyond her powers, at other times because she could not 
see to do them, on account of the pepper having been 
rubbed on her eyes ; and she was flogged for failing to 
accomplish these tasks. A violent distemper had pre- 
vailed on the plantation during the summer. It is in 
evidence, that one of the days of Kate's confinement she 
complained of fever ; and that one of the floggings she 
received was the day after she made the complaint. 
When she was taken out of the stocks, she appeared to 
be cramped, and was then again flogged. The very day 
of her release, she was sent to field labor (though hereto- 
fore a house-servant) ; and on the evening of the third day 
ensuing was brought before her owners, as being ill, and 
refusing to work ; and she then again complained of 
having fever. They were of opinion that she had none 
then, but gave directions to the driver, if she should be 
ill, to bring her to them for medicines in the morning. 
The driver took her to the negro-house, and again flogged 
her ; though at this time apparently without orders 
from her owners to do so. In the morning at seven 
o'clock she was taken to work in the field, where she 
died at noon. 

" The facts of the case are thus far incontrovertibly 
established ; and I deeply lament, that, heinous as the of- 
fences are which this narrative exhibits, I can discover 
no material palliation of them amongst the other cir- 
cumstances detailed in the evidence." 

A bill of indictment for murder was preferred against 
Mr and Mrs Moss : the grand jury threw it out. Upon 
two other bills, for misdemeanors, a verdict of guilty was 
returned. Five months' imprisonment, and a fine of 
three hundred pounds was the only punishment for this 
deliberate and shocking cruelty ! 


In the next chapter, it will be seen that similar misde- 
meanors are committed with equal impunity in this 

I do not know how much odium Mr and Mrs Moss 
generally incurred in consequence of this transaction ; 
but many of " the most respectable people in the island 
petitioned for a mitigation of their punishment, visited 
them in prison, did everything to identify themselves with 
them, and on their liberation from jail, gave them a pub- 
lic dinner as a matter of triumph ! " The witnesses in 
their favor even went so far as to insist that their character 
stood high for humanity among the neighboring planters. 
I believe there never was a class of people on earth so 
determined to uphold each other, at all events, as slave- 

The following account was originally written by the 
Rev. William Dickey of Bloomingsburgh, to the Rev. 
John Rankin, of Ripley, Ohio. It was published in 
1826, in a little volume of letters, on the subject of 
slavery, by the Rev. Mr Rankin, who assures us that 
Mr Dickey was well acquainted with the circumstances 
he describes. 

" In the county of Livingston, Kentucky, near the mouth 
of Cumberland river, lived Lilburn Lewis, the son of 
Jefferson's sister. He was the wealthy owner of a con- 
siderable number of slaves, whom he drove constantly, 
fed sparingly, and lashed severely. The consequence 
was, they would run away. Among the rest was an ill- 
grown boy, about seventeen, who, having just returned 
from a skulking spell, was sent to the spring for water, 
and, in returning, let fall an elegant pitcher, which dashed 
to shivers on the rocks. It was night, and the slaves 
were all at home. The master had them collected into 
the most roomy negro-house, and a rousing fire made." 
(Reader, what follows is very shocking ; but I have al- 
ready said we must not allow our nerves to be more 
sensitive than our consciences. If such things are done 
in our country, it is important that we should know of 
them, and seriously reflect upon them.) " The door was 
fastened, that none of the negroes, either through fear or 
sympathy, should attempt to escape ; he then told them 


that the design of this meeting was to teach them to 
remain at home and obey his orders. All things being 
now in train, George was called up, and by the assist- 
ance of his younger brother, laid on a broad bench or 
block. The master then cut off his ancles with a broad 
axe. In vain the unhappy victim screamed. Not a 
hand among so many dared to interfere. Having cast 
the feet into the fire he lectured the negroes at some 
length. He then proceeded to cut off his limbs below 
the knees. The sufferer besought him to begin with his 
head. It was in vain — the master went on thus, until 
trunk, arms, and head, were all in the fire. Still pro- 
tracting the intervals with lectures, and threatenings of 
like punishment, in case any of them were disobedient, 
or ran away, or disclosed the tragedy they were compel- 
led to witness. In order to consume the bones, the fire 
was briskly stirred until midnight : when, as if heaven 
and earth combined to show their detestation of the 
deed, a sudden shock of earthquake threw down the 
heavy wall, composed of rock and clay, extinguished the 
fire, and covered the remains of George. The negroes 
were allowed to disperse, with charges to keep the secret, 
under the penalty of like punishment. When his wife 
asked the cause of the dreadful screams she had heard, 
he said that he had never enjoyed himself so well at a 
ball as he had enjoyed himself that evening. Next 
morning, he ordered the wall to be rebuilt, and he him- 
self superintended, picking up the remains of the boy, 
and placing them within the new wall, thus hoping to 
conceal the matter. But some of the negroes whispered 
the horrid deed ; the neighbors tore down the wall, and 
finding the remains, they testified against him. He was 
bound over to await the sitting of the court ; but before 
that period arrived, he committed suicide." 

" N. B. This happened in 1811 ; if I be correct, it 
was on the 16th of December. It was on the Sabbath." 

Mr Rankin adds, there was little probability that Mr 
Lewis would have fallen under the sentence of the law. 
Notwithstanding the peculiar enormity of his offence, 
there were individuals who combined to let him out of 
prison, in order to screen him from justice. 


Another instance of summary punishment inflicted on 
a runaway slave, is told by a respectable gentleman from 
South Carolina, with whom I am acquainted. He was 
young, when the circumstance occurred, in the neigh- 
borhood of his home ; and it filled him with horror. A 
slave being missing, several planters united in a negro 
hunt, as it is called. They set out with dogs, guns, and 
horses, as they would to chase a tiger. The poor fel- 
low, being discovered, took refuge in a tree ; where he 
was deliberately shot by his pursuers. 

In some of the West Indies, blood-hounds are employed 
to hunt negroes ; and this fact is the foundation of one 
of the most painfully interesting scenes in Miss Mar- 
tineau's Demerara. A writer by the name of Dallas 
has the hardihood to assert that it is mere sophistry to 
censure the practice of training dogs to devour men. 
He asks, " Did not the Asiatics employ elephants in 
war ? If a man were bitten by a mad dog, would he 
hesitate to cut off the wounded part, in order to save his 
life r 

It is said that when the first pack of blood-hounds 
arrived in St Domingo, the white planters delivered to 
them the first negro they found, merely by way of exper- 
iment ; and when they saw him immediately torn in 
pieces, they were highly delighted to find the dogs so 
well trained to their business. 

Some authentic records of female cruelty would seem 
perfectly incredible, were it not an established law of 
our nature that tyranny becomes a habit, and scenes of 
suffering, often repeated, render the heart callous. 

A young friend of mine, remarkable for the kindness 
of his disposition and the courtesy of his manners, told 
me that he was really alarmed at the change produced 
in his character by a few months' residence in the West 
Indies. The family who owned the plantation were 
absent, and he saw nothing around him but slaves ; the 
consequence was that he insensibly acquired a dictato- 
rial manner, and habitual disregard to the convenience 
of his inferiors. The candid admonition of a friend 
made him aware of this, and his natural amiability was 


The ladies who remove from the free States into the 
slave-holding ones almost invariably write that the sight 
of slavery was at first exceedingly painful ; but that they 
soon become habituated to it ; and after a while, they are 
very apt to vindicate the system, upon the ground that it is 
extremely convenient to have such submissive servants. 
This reason was actually given by a lady of my acquaint* 
ance, who is considered an unusually fervent Christian. 
Yet Christianity expressly teaches us to love our neigh- 
bor as ourselves, This shows how dangerous it is, 
for even the best of us, to become accustomed to what is 

A judicious and benevolent friend lately told me the 
story of one of her relatives, who married a slave owner, 
and removed to his plantation. The lady in question 
was considered very amiable, and had a serene, affection- 
ate expression of countenance. After several years' 
residence among her slaves, she visited New England. 
' Her history was written in her face," said my friend ; 
" its expression had changed into that of a fiend. She 
brought but few slaves with her ; and those few were of 
course compelled to perform additional labor. One 
faithful negro woman nursed the twins of her mistress, 
and did all the washing, ironing, and scouring. If, after 
a sleepless night with the restless babes (driven from the 
bosom of their own mother,) she performed her toilsome 
avocations wtth diminished activity, her mistress, with 
her own lady-like hands, applied the cow-skin, and the 
neighborhood resounded with the cries of her victim. 
The instrument of punishment was actually kept hang- 
ing in the entry, to the no small disgust of her New 
England visiters. For my part," continued my friend, 
( I did not try to Be polite to her ; for I was not hypo- 
crite enough to conceal my indignation." 

The following occurred near Natchez, and was told to 
me by a highly intelligent man, who, being a diplomatist 
and a courtier, was very likely to make the best of na- 
tional evils : A planter had occasion to send a female 
slave some distance on an errand. She did not return so 
soon as he expected, and he grew angry. At last he gave 
orders that she should be severely whipped when she came 



back. When the poor creature arrived, she pleaded for 
mercy, saying she had been so very ill, that she was 
obliged to rest in the fields ; but she was ordered to 
receive another dozen of lashes, for having had the im- 
pudence to speak. She died at the whipping post ; nor 
did she perish alone — a new born baby died with her. 
The gentleman who told me this fact, witnessed the poor 
creature's funeral. It is true, the master was univer- 
sally blamed and shunned for the cruel deed ; but the 
laws were powerless. 

I shall be told that such examples as these are of rare 
occurrence ; and I have no doubt that instances of ex- 
cessive severity are far from being common. I believe 
that a large proportion of masters are as kind to their 
slaves as they can be, consistently with keeping them in 
bondage ; but it must be allowed that this, to make the 
best of it, is very stinted kindness. And let it never be 
forgotten that the negro's fate depends entirely on the 
character of his master ; and it is a mere matter of 
chance whether he fall into merciful or unmerciful hands ; 
his happiness, nay, his very life, depends on chance. 

The slave owners are always telling us, that the ac- 
counts of slave misery are abominably exaggerated ; and 
their plea is supported by many individuals, who seem to 
think that charity was made to cover sins, not to cure 
them. But without listening to the zealous opposers of 
slavery, we shall find in the judicial reports of the South- 
ern States, and in the ordinary details of their news- 
papers, more than enough to startle us ; besides, we must 
not forget that where one instance of cruelty comes to 
our knowledge, hundreds are kept secret ; and the more 
public attention is awakened to the subject, the more 
caution will be used in this respect. 

Why should we be deceived by the sophistry of those 
whose interest it is to gloss over iniquity, and who from 
long habit have learned to believe that it is no iniquity ? 
It is a very simple process to judge rightly in this matter. 
Just ask yourself the question where you could find a set 
of men, in whose power you would be willing to place 
yourself, if the laws allowed them to sin against you with 
impunity ? 


But it is urged that it is the interest of planters to 
treat their slaves well. This argument no doubt has 
some force ; and it is the poor negro's only security. 
But it is likewise the interest of men to treat their cattle 
kindly ; yet we see that passion and short-sighted avarice 
do overcome the strongest motives of interest. Cattle 
are beat unmercifully, sometimes unto death ; they are 
ruined by being over-worked; weakened by want of 
sufficient food ; and so forth. Besides, it is sometimes 
directly for the interest of the planter to work his slaves 
beyond their strength. When there is a sudden rise in 
the prices of sugar, a certain amount of labor in a given 
time is of more consequence to the owner of a planta- 
tion, than the price of several slaves ; he can well afford 
to waste a few lives. This is no idle hypothesis - — such 
calculations are gravely and openly made by planters. 
Hence, it is the slave's prayer that sugars may be cheap. 
When the negro is old, or feeble from incurable disease, 
is it his master's interest to feed him well, and clothe him 
comfortably 1 Certainly not : it then becomes desira- 
ble to get rid of the human brute as soon as convenient. 
It is a common remark, that it is not quite safe, in most 
cases, for even parents to be entirely dependent on the 
generosity of their children ; and if human nature be 
such, what has the slave to expect, when he becomes a 
mere bill of expense? 

It is a common retort to say that New Englanders, 
who go to the South, soon learn to patronize the system 
they have considered so abominable, and often become 
proverbial for their severity. I have not the least doubt 
of the fact ; for slavery contaminates all that comes 
within its influence. It would be very absurd to imagine 
that the inhabitants of one State are worse than the in- 
habitants of another, unless some peculiar circumstances, 
of universal influence, tend to make them so. Human 
nature is everywhere the same ; but developed different- 
ly? k;y different incitements and temptations. It is the 
business of wise legislation to discover what influences 
are most productive of good, and the least conducive to 
evil. If we were educated at the South, we should no 
doubt vindicate slavery, and inherit as a birthright all 


the evils it engrafts upon the character. If they lived on 
our rocky soil, and under our inclement skies, their 
shrewdness would sometimes border upon knavery, and 
their frugality sometimes degenerate into parsimony. 
We both have our virtues, and our faults, induced by the 
influences under which we live, and, of course, totally 
different in their character. Our defects are bad enough ; 
but they cannot, like slavery, affect the destiny and rights 
of millions. 

All this mutual recrimination about horse-jockeys, 
gamblers, tin-pedlers, and venders of wooden nutmegs, 
is quite unworthy of a great nation. Instead of calmly 
examining this important subject on the plain grounds of 
justice and humanity, we allow it to degenerate into a 
mere question of sectional pride and vanity. [Pardon 
the Americanism, would we had less use for the word !] 
It is the system, not the men, on which we ought to be- 
stow the full measure of abhorrence. If we were wil- 
ling to forget ourselves, and could, like true republicans, 
prefer the common good to all other considerations, there 
would not be a slave in the United States, at the end of 
half a century. 

The arguments in support of slavery are all hollow 
and deceptive, though frequently very specious. No one 
thinks of finding a foundation for the system in the prin- 
ciples of truth and justice ; and the unavoidable result 
is, that even in policy it is unsound. The monstrous 
fabric rests on the mere appearance of present expedi- 
ency ; while, in fact, all its tendencies, individual and 
national, present and remote, are highly injurious to the 
true interests of the country. The slave owner will not 
believe this. The stronger the evidence against his fa- 
vorite theories, the more strenuously he defends them. 
It has been wisely said, " Honesty is the best policy ; but 
policy without honesty never finds that out." 

I hope none will be so literal as to suppose I intend to 
say that no planter can be honest, in the common accep- 
tation of that term. I simply mean that all who ground 
their arguments in policy, and not in duty and plain 
truth, are really blind to the highest and best interests of 


Among other apologies for slavery, it has been as- 
serted that the Bible does not forbid it. Neither does it 
forbid the counterfeiting of a bank-bill. It is the spirit 
of the Holy Word, not its particular expressions, which 
must be a rule for our conduct. How can slavery be 
reconciled with the maxim, " Do unto others, as ye would 
that others should do unto you" 1 Does not the com- 
mand, " Thou shalt not steal," prohibit kidnapping ? 
And how does whipping men to death agree with the 
injunction, " Thou shalt do no murder"? Are we not 
told " to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the 
heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break 
every yoke" ? It was a Jewish law that he who stole a 
man, or sold him, or he in w T hose hands the stolen man 
was found, should suffer death ; and he in whose house a 
fugitive slave sought an asylum was forbidden to give 
him up to his master. Modern slavery is so unlike He- 
brew servitude, and its regulations are so diametrically 
opposed to the rules of the Gospel, which came to bring 
deliverance to the captive, that it is idle to dwell upon 
this point. The advocates of this system seek for argu- 
ments in the history of every age and nation ; but the 
fact is, negro slavery is totally different from any other 
form of bondage that ever existed ; and if it were not so, 
are we to copy the evils of bad governments and be- 
nighted ages 1 

The difficulty of subduing slavery, on account of the 
great number of interests which become united in it, and 
the prodigious strength of the selfish passions enlisted in 
its support, is by no means its least alarming feature. 
This Hydra has ten thousand heads, every one of which 
will bite or growl, when the broad daylight of truth lays 
open the secrets of its hideous den. 

I shall perhaps be asked why I have said so much 
about the slave trade, since it was long ago abolished in 
this country 1 There are several good reasons for it. In 
the first place, it is a part of the system ; for if there 
were no slaves, there could be no slave trade ; and while 
there are slaves, the slave trade will continue. In the 
next place, the trade is still briskly carried on in Africa, 
and slaves are smuggled into these States through the 



Spanish colonies. In the third place, a very extensive in- 
ternal slave trade is carried on in this country. The 
breeding of negro cattle for the foreign markets, (of 
Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri,) 
is a very lucrative branch of business. Whole coffles of 
them, chained and manacled, are driven through our 
Capital on their way to auction. Foreigners, particu- 
larly those who come here with enthusiastic ideas of 
American freedom, are amazed and disgusted at the 
sight.* A troop of slaves once passed through Washing- 
ton on the fourth of July, while drums were beating, 
and standards flying. One of the captive negroes raised 
his hand, loaded with irons, and waving it toward the 
starry flag, sung with a smile of bitter irony, " Hail Co- 
lumbia ! happy land VI 

In the summer of 1822, a coffle of slaves, driven 
through Kentucky, was met by the Rev. James H. 
Dickey, just before it entered Paris. He describes it 
thus : " About forty black men were chained together ; 
each of them was handcuffed, and they were arranged 
rank and file. A chain, perhaps forty feet long, was 
stretched between the two ranks, to which short chains 
were joined, connected with the hand-cuffs. Behind 
them were about thirty women, tied hand to hand. Every 
countenance wore a solemn sadness ; and the dismal 
silence of despair was only broken by the sound of two 
violins. Yes — as if to add insult to injury, the fore- 
most couple were furnished with a violin apiece ; the 
second couple were ornamented with cockades ; while 
near the centre our national standard was carried by 
hands literally in chains. I may have mistaken some of 
the punctilios of the arrangement, for my very soul was 
sick. My landlady was sister to the man who owned 
the drove ; and from her 1 learned that he had, a few 
days previous, bought a negro woman, who refused to go 
with him. A blow on the side of her head with the butt 
of his whip, soon brought her to the ground ; he then 

* See the second volume of Stuart's " Three Years in North 
America." Instead of being angry at such truths, it would be wise 
to profit by them. 


tied her, and carried her off. Besides those I saw, about 
thirty negroes, destined for the New Orleans market, 
were shut up in the Paris jail, for safe keeping. 

But Washington is the great emporium of the internal 
slave trade ! The United States jail is a perfect store- 
house for slave merchants ; and some of the taverns may 
be seen so crowded with negro captives that they have 
scarcely room to stretch themselves on the floor to sleep. 
Judge Morrel, in his charge to the Grand Jury at Wash- 
ington, in 1816, earnestly called their attention to this 
subject. He said, "the frequency with which the streets 
of the city had been crowded w T ith manacled captives, 
sometimes even on the Sabbath, could not fail to shock 
the feelings of all humane persons ; that it was repug- 
nant to the spirit of our political institutions, and the 
rights of man ; and he believed it was calculated to im- 
pair the public morals, by familiarizing scenes of cruelty 
to the minds of youth." 

A free man of color is in constant danger of being 
seized and carried off by these slave dealers. Mr 
Cooper, a Representative in Congress from Delaware, 
told Dr Torrey of Philadelphia, that he was often afraid to 
send his servants out in the evening, lest they should be 
encountered by kidnappers. Wherever these notorious 
slave jockeys appear in our Southern States, the free peo- 
ple of color hide themselves, as they are obliged to do on 
the coast of Africa. 

The following is the testimony of Doctor Torrey, 
of Philadelphia, published in 1817 : 

" To enumerate all the horrid and aggravating instan- 
ces of man-stealing, which are known to have occurred 
in the state of Delaware, within the recollection of many 
of the citizens of that State, would require a volume. In 
many cases, whole families of free colored people have 
been attacked in the night, beaten nearly to death with 
clubs, gagged and bound, and dragged into distant and 
hopeless captivity, leaving no traces behind, except the 
blood from their wounds. 

" During the last winter, the house of a free black 
family was broken open, and its defenceless inhabitants 
treated in the manner just mentioned, except, that 


the mother escaped from their merciless grasp, while on 
their way to the state of Maryland. The plunderers, of 
whom there were nearly half a dozen, conveyed their 
prey upon horses ; and the woman being placed on one 
of the horses, behind, improved an opportunity, as they 
were passing a house, and sprang off. Not daring to 
pursue her, they proceeded on, leaving her youngest 
child a little farther along, by the side of the road, in 
expectation, it is supposed, that its cries would attract the 
mother ; but she prudently waited until morning, and 
recovered it again in safety. 

" I consider myself more fully warranted in particular- 
izing this fact, from the circumstances of having been at 
Newcastle, at the time that the woman was brought 
with her child, before the grand jury, for examination; 
and of having seen several of the persons against whom 
bills of indictment were found, on the charge of be- 
ing engaged in the perpetration of the outrage ; and 
also that one or two of them were the same who 
were accused of assisting in seizing and carrying off 
another woman and child whom I discovered at Wash- 
ington. A monster in human shape, was detected in 
the city of Philadelphia, pursuing the occupation of 
courting and marrying mulatto women, and selling 
them as slaves. In his last attempt of this kind,, 
the fact having come to the knowledge of the Afri- 
can population of this city, a mob was immediately 
collected, and he was only saved from being torn in 
atoms, by being deposited in the city prison. They 
have lately invented a method of attaining their ob- 
ject, through the instrumentality of the laws: — Hav- 
ing selected a suitable free colored person, to make a 
pitch upon, the kidnapper employs a confederate,, to 
ascertain the distinguishing marks of his body ; he 
then claims and obtains him as a slave, before a ma- 
gistrate, by describing those marks, and proving the 
truth of his assertions, by his well-instructed accom- 

" From the best information that I have had oppor- 
tunities to collect, in travelling by various routes through 
the states of Delaware and Maryland, I am fully con- 


vinced that there are, at this time, within the juris- 
diction of the United States, several thousands of 
legally free people of color, toiling under the yoke of 
involuntary servitude, and transmitting the same fate 
to their posterity ! If the probability of this fact could 
be authenticated to the recognition of the Congress 
of the United States, it is presumed that its mem- 
bers, as agents of the constitution, and guardians of the 
public liberty, would, without hesitation, devise means 
for the restoration of those unhappy victims of violence 
and avarice, to their freedom and constitutional personal 
rights. The work, both from its nature and magni- 
tude, is impracticable to individuals, or benevolent 
societies ; besides, it is perfectly a national business, 
and claims national interference, equally with the cap- 
tivity of our sailors in Algiers." 

It may indeed be said, in palliation of the internal 
slave trade, that the horrors of the middle passage are 
avoided. But still the amount of misery is very great. 
Husbands and wives, parents and children, are rudely 
torn from each other ; — there can be no doubt of this 
fact : advertisements are very common, in which a 
mother and her children are offered either in a lot, or 
separately, as may suit the purchaser. In one of these 
advertisements, I observed it stated that the youngest 
child was about a year old.* 

The captives are driven by the whip, through toilsome 
journeys, under a burning sun ; their limbs fettered \ 
with nothing before them but the prospect of toil more 
severe than that to which they have been accustomed.f 

The disgrace of such scenes in the capital of our re- 
public cannot be otherwise than painful to every patriotic 
mind ; while they furnish materials for the most pungent 

* In Niles's Register, vol. xxxv. page 4, I find the following : 
u Dealing in slaves has become a large business. Establishments are 
made at several places in Maryland and Virginia, at which they are 
gold like cattle. These places are strongly built, and well supplied 
with thumbscrews, gags, cow-skins, and other whips, oftentimes 
bloody. But the laws permit the traffic, and it is suffered." 

t In the sugar-growing States the condition of the negro is much 
more pitiable than where cotton is the staple commodity. 


satire to other nations. A United States senator de- 
clared that the sight of a drove of slaves was so insup- 
portable that he always avoided it when he could ; and 
an intelligent Scotchman said, when he first entered 
Chesapeake Bay, and cast his eye along our coast, the 
sight of the slaves brought his heart into his throat. 
How can we help feeling a sense of shame, when we 
read Moore's contemptuous couplet, 

" The fustian flag that proudly waves, 

In splendid mockery, o'er a land of slaves"? 

The lines would be harmless enough, if they were false ; 
the sting lies in their truth. 

Finally, I have described some of the horrors of the 
slave trade, because when our constitution was formed, 
the government pledged itself not to abolish this traffic 
until 1808. We began our career of freedom by grant- 
ing a twenty years' lease of iniquity — twenty years of 
allowed invasion of other men's rights — twenty years 
of bloodshed, violence, and fraud ! And this will be 
told in our annals — this will be heard of to the end of 
time !* 

Every man who buys a slave promotes this traffic, by 
raising the value of the article ; every man who owns a 
slave, indirectly countenances it; every man who allows 
that slavery is a lamentable necessity, contributes his 
share to support it ; and he, who votes for admitting a 
slave-holding State into the Union, fearfully augments 
the amount of this crime. 

* It ought to be remembered to the honor of Denmark that she 
abolished the slave trade as early as 1803. 




" E'en from my tongue some heart-felt truths may fall \ 
And outraged Nature claims the care of all. 
These wrongs in any place would force a tear j 
But call for stronger, deeper feeling here." 

" O, sons of freedom ! equalize your laws — 
Be all consistent — plead the negro's cause — 
Then all the nations in your code may see, 
That, black or white, Americans are free." 

Between ancient and modern slavery there is this 
remarkable distinction — the former originated in mo- 
tives of humanity ; the latter is dictated solely by avarice. 
The ancients made slaves of captives taken in war, as 
an amelioration of the original custom of indiscriminate 
slaughter ; the moderns attack defenceless people, with- 
out any provocation, and steal them, for the express 
purpose of making them slaves. 

Modern slavery, indeed, in all its particulars, is more 
odious than the ancient ; and it is worthy of remark 
that the condition of slaves has always been worse just 
in proportion to the freedom enjoyed by their masters. 
In Greece, none were so proud of liberty as the Spar- 
tans ; and they were a proverb among the neighboring 
States for their severity to slaves. The slave code of the 
Roman republic was rigid and tyrannical in the extreme ; 
and cruelties became so common and excessive, that the 
emperors, in the latter days of Roman power, were 
obliged to enact laws to restrain them. In the modern 
world, England and America are the most conspicuous 
for enlightened views of freedom, and bold vindication 
of the equal rights of man ; yet in these two countries 


slave laws have been framed as bad as they were in Pagan, 
iron-hearted Rome ; and the customs are in some respects 
more oppressive ; — modern slavery unquestionably wears 
its very worst aspect in the Colonies of England and the 
United States of North America. I hardly know how 
to decide their respective claims. ' My countrymen are 
fond of preeminence, and I am afraid they deserve 
it here — especially if we throw into the scale their 
loud boasts of superiority over all the rest of the world 
in civil and religious freedom. The slave codes of the 
United States and of the British West Indies were orig- 
inally almost precisely the same ; but their laws have 
been growing milder and milder, while ours have in- 
creased in severity. The British have the advantage 
of us in this respect — they long ago dared to describe 
the monster as it is ; and they are now grappling with it, 
with the overwhelming strength of a great nation's con- 
centrated energies. — The Dutch, those sturdy old friends 
of liberty, and the French, who have been stark mad for 
freedom, rank next for the severity of their slave laws 
and customs. The Spanish and Portuguese are milder 
than either. 

I will give a brief view of some of our own laws on 
this subject ; for the correctness of which, I refer the 
reader to Stroud's Sketch of the Slave Laws of the United 
States of America. In the first place, we will inquire 
upon what ground the negro slaves in this country are 
claimed as property. Most of them are the descendants 
of persons kidnapped on the coast of Africa, and 
brought here while we were British Colonies ; and as 
the slave trade was openly sanctioned more than twenty 
years after our acknowledged independence, in 1783, 
and as the traffic is still carried on by smugglers, there 
are, no doubt, thousands of slaves, now living in the 
United States, who were actually stolen from Africa.* 

A provincial law of Maryland enacted that any white 
woman who married a negro slave should serve his mas- 
ter during her husband's lifetime, and that all their 

* In the new slave States, there are a great many negroes, who 
can speak no other language than some of the numerous African 


children should be slaves. This law was not repealed 
until the end of eighteen years, and it then continued in 
full force with regard to those who had contracted such 
marriages in the intermediate time j therefore the de- 
scendants of white women so situated may be slaves unto 
the present day. The doctrine of the common law is 
that the offspring shall follow the condition of the father ; 
but slave law (with the above temporary exception) re- 
verses the common law, and provides that children shall 
follow the condition of the mother. Hence mulattoes 
and their descendants are held in perpetual bondage, 
though the father is a free white man. " Any person 
whose maternal ancestor, even in the remotest degree of 
distance, Gan be shown to have been a negro, Indian, 
mulatto, or a mestizo, not free at the time this law was 
introduced, although the paternal ancestor at each suc- 
cessive generation may have been a white free man, is 
declared to be the subject of perpetual slavery." Even 
the code of Jamaica, is on this head, more liberal than 
ours; by an express law, slavery ceases at the fourth de- 
gree of distance from a negro ancestor : and in the other 
British West Indies, the established custom is such, that 
quadroons or mestizoes (as they call the second and 
third degrees) are rarely seen in a state of slavery. Here, 
neither law nor public opinion favors the mulatto de- 
scendants of free white men. This furnishes a conven- 
ient game to the slave-holder — it enables him to fill 
his purse by means of his own vices ; — the right to sell 
one half of his children provides a fortune for the 
remainder. Had the maxim of the common law been 
allowed, — i. e. that the offspring follows the condition 
of the father, — the mulattoes, almost without exception, 
would have been free, and thus the prodigious and alarm- 
ing increase of our slave population might have been 
prevented. The great augmentation of the servile class 
in the Southern States compared with the West India 
colonies, has been thought to indicate a much milder 
form of slavery ; but there are other causes, which 
tend to produce the result. There are much fewer white 
men in the British West Indies than in our slave States ; 
hence the increase, of the mulatto population is less rapid, 


Here, the descendants of a colored mother never become 
free ; in the West Indies, they cease to be slaves in the 
fourth generation, at farthest; and their posterity in- 
crease the free colored class, instead of adding count- 
less links to the chain of bondage. 

The manufacture of sugar is extremely toilsome, and 
when driven hard, occasions a great waste of negro life ; 
this circumstance, together with the tropical climate of 
the West Indies, furnish additional reasons for the dis- 
proportionate increase of slaves between those islands 
and our own country, where a comparatively small quan- 
tity of sugar is cultivated. 

It may excite surprise, that Indians and their offspring 
are comprised in the doom of perpetual slavery ; yet not 
only is incidental mention of them as slaves to be met with 
in the laws of most of the States of our confederacy, but 
in one, at least, direct legislation may be cited to sanction 
their enslavement. In Virginia, an act was passed, in 
1679, declaring that " for the better encouragement of sol- 
diers, whatever Indian prisoners were taken in a war, in 
which the colony was then engaged, should be free pur- 
chase to the soldiers taking them" : and in 1682, it was 
decreed that " all servants brought into Virginia, by sea 
or land, not being Christians, whether negroes, Moors, 
mulattoes, or Indians, (except Turks and Moors in 
amity with Great Britain) and all Indians, which should 
thereafter be sold by neighboring Indians, or any other 
trafficking with us, as slaves, should be slaves to all 
intents and purposes." These laws ceased in ]691 ; 
but the descendants of all Indians sold in the intermedi- 
ate time are now among slaves. 

In order to show the true aspect of slavery among us, 
I will state distinct propositions, each supported by the 
evidence of actually existing laws. 

1. Slavery is hereditary and perpetual, to the last 
moment of the slave's earthly existence^ and to all 
his descendants, to the latest posterity. 

2. The labor of the slave is compulsory and un- 
compensated ; while the hind of labor, the amount of 
toil, and the time allowed for rest, are dictated solely 
by the master. No bargain is made, no wages given. 


A pure despotism governs the human brute ; and even 
Ms covering and provender, both as to quantity and 
quality, depend entirely on the master's discretion. 

3. The slave being considered a personal chattel, 
may be sold, or pledged, or leased, at the ivill of his 
master. He may be exchanged for marketable commo- 
dities, or taken in execution for the debts, or taxes, 
either of a living, or a deceased master. Sold at 
auction, " either individually , or in lots, to suit the 
purchaser," he may remain with his family , or be sepa- 
rated from them forever. 

4. Slaves can make no contracts, and have no le- 
gal right to any property, real or personal. Their 
own honest earnings, and the legacies of friends belong, 
in point of law, to their masters. 

5. Neither a slave, or free colored person can he a 
witness against any white or free man, in a court of 

justice, however atrocious may have been the crimes 
they have seen him commit : but they may give testi- 
mony against a fellow-slave, or free colored man, even 
in cases affecting life. 

6. The slave may be punished at his master's dis- 
cretion — without trial — without any means of legal 
redress, — whether his offence be real, or imaginary; 
and the master can transfer the same despotic power 
to any person, or persons, he may choose to appoint. 

7. The slave is not allowed to resist any free man 

under any circumstances : his only safety consists in the 

fact that his owner may bring suit, and recover, the 

price of his body, in case his life is taken, or his 

limbs rendered unfit for labor. 

8. Slaves cannot redeem themselves, or obtain a 
change of masters, though cruel treatment may have 
rendered such a change necessary for their personal 

9. The slave is entirely unprotected in his domestic 

10. The laws greatly obstruct the manumission of 
slaves, even where the master is willing to enfranchise 

11. The operation of the laws tends to deprive 
slaves of religious instruction and consolation. 


12. The whole power of the laws is exerted to 
keep slaves in a state of the lowest ignorance. 

VS. There is in this country a monstrous inequality 
of law and right. What is a trifling fault in the 
white man, is considered highly criminal in the slave; 
the same ojfences ivhich cost a white man a few dol- 
lars only, are punished in the negro with death. 

14. The laws operate most oppressively upon free 
people of color. 

Proposition 1. — Slavery hereditary and perpetual. 

In Maryland the following act was passed in 1715, and 
is still in force : " All negroes and other slaves, already 
imported, or hereafter to be imported into this province, 
and all children now born, or hereafter to be born, of 
such negroes and slaves, shall be slaves during their nat- 
ural lives.' 5 The law of South Carolina is, " All ne- 
groes, Indians, (free Indians in amity with this govern- 
ment, and negroes, mulattoes, and mestizoes, who are 
now free, excepted,) mulattoes or mestizoes, who now are, 
or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their issue 
born, or to be born, shall be and remain forever hereafter 
absolute slaves, and shall follow the condition of the 
mother." Laws similar exist in Virginia, Georgia, Mis- 
sissippi, and Louisiana. In consequence of these laws, 
people so nearly white as not to be distinguished from 
Europeans, may be, and have been, legally claimed as 

Prop. 2. — Labor compulsory and uncompensated , 8fc. 

In most of the slave States the law is silent on this 
subject ; but that it is the established custom is proved 
by laws restraining the excessive abuse of this power, in 
some of the States. Thus in one State there is a fine of 
ten shillings, in another of two dollars, for making slaves 
labor on Sunday, unless it be in works of absolute ne- 
cessity, or the necessary occasions of the family. There 
is likewise a law which provides that " any master, who 
withholds proper sustenance, or clothing, from his slaves, 
or overworks them, so as to injure their health, shall 
upon sufficient information [here lies the rub] being laid 
before the grand jury, be by said jury presented j where- 


upon it shall be the duty of the attorney, or solicitor 
general, to prosecute said owners, who, on conviction 
shall be sentenced to pay a fine, or be imprisoned, or 
both, at the discretion of the court." 

The negro act of South Carolina contains the follow- 
ing language : " Whereas many owners of slaves, and 
others, who have the care, management, and overseeing 
of slaves, do confine them so closely to hard labor, that 
they have not sufficient time for natural rest ; be it there- 
fore enacted, that if any owner of slaves, or others hav- 
ing the care, &c, shall put such slaves to labor more 
than fifteen hours in twenty four, from the twenty fifth of 
March to the twentyfifth of September ; or more than 
fourteen hours in twentyfour hours from the twentyfifth 
of September to the twentyfifth of March, any such per- 
son shall forfeit a sum of money not exceeding twenty 
pounds, nor under five pounds, current money, for every 
time, he, she, or they, shall offend therein, at the dis- 
cretion of the justice before whom complaint shall be 

In Louisiana it is enacted, that "the slaves shall be 
allowed half an hour for breakfast, during the whole 
year ; from the first of May to the first of November, 
they shall be allowed two hours for dinner ; and from 
the first of November to the first of May, one hour and 
a half for dinner : provided, however, that the owners, 
who will themselves take the trouble of having the meals 
of their slaves prepared, be, and they are hereby author- 
ized to abridge, by half an hour a day, the time fixed for 
their rest." 

All these laws, apparently for the protection of the 
slave, are rendered perfectly null and void, by the fact, 
that the testimony of a negro or mulatto is never taken 
against a white man. If a slave be found toiling in the 
field on the Sabbath, who can prove that his master com- 
manded him to do it ? 

The law of Louisiana stipulates that a slave shall have 
one linen shirt,* and a pair of pantaloons for the sum- 
mer, and one linen shirt and a woollen great coat and 

} This shirt is usually made of a coarse kind of bagging. 



pantaloons for the winter ; and for food, one pint of salt, 
and a barrel of Indian corn, rice, or beans, every month. 
In North Carolina, the law decides that a quart of corn 
per day is sufficient. But, if the slave does not receive 
this poor allowance, who can prove the fact, The with- 
holding of proper sustenance is absolutely incapable 
of proof, unless the evidence of the sufferer himself be 
allowed ; and the law, as if determined to obstruct the 
administration of justice, permits the master to excul- 
pate himself by an oath that the charges against him are 
false. Clothing may, indeed, be ascertained by inspec- 
tion ; but who is likely to involve himself in quarrels 
with a white master because a poor negro receives a few 
rags less than the law provides 1 I apprehend that a per- 
son notorious for such gratuitous acts of kindness, would 
have little peace or safety, in any slave-holding country. 
If a negro be compelled to toil night and day, (as it is 
said they sometimes are,* at the season of sugar-making) 
who is to prove that he works more than his fourteen or 
fifteen hours ? No slave can be a witness for himself, or 
for his fellow-slaves ; and should a white man happen to 
know the fact, there are ninetynine chances out of a 
hundred, that he will deem it prudent to be silent. And 
here I would remark that even in the island of Jamaica, 
where the laws have given a most shocking license to 
cruelty, — even in Jamaica, the slave is compelled to 
work but ten hours in the day, beside having many holi- 
days allowed him. In Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, 
Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the convicts condemned 
to hard labor in the penitentiaries, are required by law to 
toil only from eight to ten hours a day, according to the 
season of the year ; yet the law providing that the inno- 
cent slave should labor but fourteen or fifteen hours a 
day, professes to have been made as a merciful ameliora- 
tion of his lot ! — In Rome, the slaves had a yearly festival 
called the Saturnalia, during which they were released 
from toil, changed places with their masters, and indulg- 
ed in unbounded merriment; at first it lasted but one 
day ; but its duration afterwards extended to two, three, 

* See Western Review, No. 2, on the Agriculture of Louisiana. 


four, and five days in succession. We have no Satur- 
nalia here — unless we choose thus to designate a coffle 
of slaves, on the fourth of July, rattling their chains to the 
sound of a violin, and carrying the banner of freedom 
in hands loaded with irons. 

In Georgia, "The inferior courts of the several coun- 
ties on receiving information on oath of any infirm slave 
or slaves, being in a suffering condition, from the neglect 
of the owner or owners, can make 'particular inquiries 
into the situation of such slaves, and render such relief 
as they think proper. And the said courts may sue for 
and recover from the owner of such slaves the amount 
appropriated for their relief." The information must, in 
the first place, be given by a white man upon oath ; and 
of whom must the "particular inquiries' 5 be made? Not 
of the slave, nor of his companions, — for their evidence 
goes for nothing ; and would a master, capable of starv- 
ing an aged slave, be likely to confess the whole truth 
about it? The judges of the inferior courts, if, from 
defect of evidence, or any other cause, they are unable 
to prove that relief was absolutely needed, must pay all 
the expenses from their own private purses. Are there 
many, think you, so desperately enamored of justice,, as 
to take all this trouble, and incur all this risk, for a starv- 
ing slave 1 

Prop. 3. — Slaves considered personal chattels, liable 
to be sold, pledged, fyc. 

The advertisements in the Southern papers furnish 
a continued proof of this ; it is, therefore, unnecessary 
to go into the details of evidence.* The power to sepa- 
rate mothers and children, husbands and wives, is exer- 
cised only in the British West Indies, and the republic 
of the United States ! 

In Louisiana there is indeed a humane provision in 
this respect : "If at a public sale of slaves, there happen 
to be some who are disabled through old age or other- 

h A white man engaged in a disturbance was accompanied by 
three or four slaves ; his counsel contended that there were not 
persons enough in the affair to constitute a riot, because the slaves 
were mere chattels in the eye of the law. It was however decided 
that when liable to the punishment of the law. they were persons. 


wise, and who have children, such slaves shall not be 
sold but with such of his or of her children, whom he or 
she may think proper to go with." But though parents 
cannot be sold apart from their children, without their 
consent, yet the master may keep the parents and sell 
the children, if he chooses ; in which case the separa- 
tion is of course equally painful. — " By the Code Noir, 
of Louis the Fourteenth, husbands and wives, parents and 
children are not allowed to be sold separately. If sales 
contrary to this regulation are made by process of law, 
under seizure for debts, such sales are declared void; 
but if such sales are made voluntarily on the part of the 
owner, a wiser remedy is given — the wife, or husband, 
children, or parent retained by the seller may be claimed 
by the purchaser, without any additional price ; and thus 
the separated family may be re-united again. The most 
solemn agreement between the parties contrary to this 
rule has been adjudged void." In the Spanish, Portu- 
guese and French colonies, plantation slaves are consid- 
ered real estate, attached to the soil they cultivate, and 
of course not liable to be torn from their homes when- 
ever the master chooses to sell them ; neither can they 
be seized or sold by their master's creditors. 

The following quotation shows how the citizens of this 
country bear comparison with men called savages. A 
recent traveller in East Florida says : " Another trait in 
the character of the Seminole Indians, is their great in- 
dulgence to their slaves. The greatest pressure of hun- 
ger or thirst never occasions them to impose onerous 
labors on the negroes, or to dispose of them, though 
tempted by high offers, if the latter are unwilling to be 

Prop. 4. — Slaves can have no legal claim to any prop- 

The civil code of Louisiana declares : " All that a 
slave possesses belongs to his master — he possesses 
nothing of his own, except his peculium, that is to say, 
the sum of money or movable estate, which his master 
chooses he should possess." — " Slaves are incapable of 
inheriting or transmitting property." — " Slaves cannot 
dispose of, or receive, by donation, unless they have 


been enfranchised conformably to law, or are expressly 
enfranchised by the act, by which the donation is made 
to them." 

In South Carolina " it is not lawful for any slave to 
buy, sell, trade, &c. without a license from his owner; 
nor shall any slave be allowed to keep any boat or canoe, 
for his own benefit, or raise any horses, cattle, sheep or 
hogs, under pain of forfeiting all the goods, boats, ca- 
noes, horses, &c. &/C, and it shall be lawful for any person 
to seize and take away from any slave all such goods, 
boats, &lc. and to deliver the same into the hands of the 
nearest justice of the peace ; and if the said justice be 
satisfied that such seizure has been made according to 
law, he shall order the goods to be sold at public outcry ; 
one half of the moneys arising from the sale to go to the 
State, and the other half to him or them that sue for the 
same." In North Carolina there is a similar law ; but 
half the proceeds of the sale goes to the county poor, and 
half to the informer. 

In Georgia, a fine of thirty dollars a week is imposed 
upon any master who allows his slave to hire himself out 
for his own benefit. In Virginia, if a master permit his 
slave to hire himself out, he is subject to a fine, from 
ten to twenty dollars ; and it is lawful for any person, 
and the duty of the Sheriff, to apprehend the slave. In 
Maryland, the master, by a similar offence, except during 
twenty days at harvest time, incurs a penalty of twenty 
dollars per month. 

In Mississippi, if a master allow his slave to cultivate 
cotton for his own use, he incurs a fine of fifty dollars ; 
and if he license his slave to trade on his own account, 
he forfeits fifty dollars for each and every offence. Any 
person trading with a slave forfeits four times the value 
of the article purchased; and if unable to pay, he re- 
ceives thirtynine lashes, and pays the cost. 

Among the Romans, the Grecians, and the ancient 
Germans, slaves were permitted to acquire and enjoy 
property of considerable value, as their own. This prop- 
erty was called the slave's peculium ; and " the many 
anxious provisions of the Imperial Code on the subject 
plainly show the general extent and importance of such 


acquisitions/' — " The Roman slave was also empowered 
by law to enter into commercial and other contracts, by 
which the master was bound, to the extent of the value 
of the slave's peculium" — " The Grecian slaves had 
also their peculium ; and were rich enough to make 
periodical presents to their masters, as well as often to 
purchase their freedom." 

" The Helots of Sparta were so far from being desti- 
tute of property, or of legal powers necessary to its 
acquisition, that they were farmers of the lands of their 
masters, at low fixed rents, which the proprietor could 
not raise without dishonor." 

" In our own day, the Polish slaves, prior to any 
recent alleviations of their lot, were not only allowed to 
hold property, but endowed with it by their lords." — " In 
the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, the money and 
effects, which a slave acquires, by his labor at times set 
apart for his own use, or by any other honest means, are 
legally his own, and cannot be seized by the master." — * 
" In Africa, slaves may acquire extensive property, 
which their sable masters cannot take away. In New 
Calabar, there is a man named Amachree, who has more 
influence and wealth than all the rest of the community, 
though he himself is a purchased slave, brought from the 
Braspan country ; he has offered the price of a hundred 
slaves for his freedom ; but according to the laws of the 
country he cannot obtain it, though his master, who is a 
poor and obscure individual, would gladly let him have it." 

Among the Jews, a servant, or slave, often filled the 
highest offices of honor and profit, connected with the 
family. Indeed slavery among this ancient people was 
in its mildest, patriarchal form ; and the same character 
is now stamped upon the domestic slavery of Africa. St 
Paul says, " The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth 
nothing from a servant, [the Hebrew word translated 
servant means slave] though he be lord of all." Gal. iv. 1. 
Again : " A wise servant shall have rule over a son that 
causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance 
among the brethren." Proverbs, xvii. 2. The wealthy 
patriarch Abraham, before the birth of Isaac, designed 
to make his head servant, Eleazer of Damascus, his heir. 


Prop. 5. — No colored man can be evidence against a 
wliite mariy fyc. 

This is an almost universal rule of slave law. The 
advocates of slavery seem to regard it as a necessary 
consequence of the system, which neither admits of con- 
cealment, nor needs it. " In one or two of our states 
this rule is founded upon usage ; in others it is sanction- 
ed by express legislation" 

So long as this rule is acted upon, it is very plain, that 
all regulations made for the protection of the slave are 
perfectly useless ; — however grievous his wrongs, they 
cannot be proved. The master is merely obliged to take 
the precaution not to starve, or mangle, or murder his 
negroes, in the presence of a white man. No matter if 
five hundred colored people be present, they cannot tes- 
tify to the fact. Blackstone remarks, that " rights would 
be declared vain, and in vain directed to be observed, if 
there were no method of recovering and asserting those 
rights, when wrongfully withheld, or invaded." 

Stephens says : "It seems to result from the brief and 
general accounts which we have of the law of the Span- 
ish and Portuguese settlements, though I find it nowhere 
expressly noticed, that slaves there are not, in all cases 
at least, incompetent witnesses. But even in the 
French Windward Islands, the evidence of negro slaves 
was admitted against all free persons, the master only 
excepted ; and that in criminal as well as in civil cases, 
where the testimony of white people could not be found 
to establish the facts in dispute. The Code Noir mere- 
ly allowed a slave's testimony to be heard by the judge, 
as a suggestion which might throw light on other evi- 
dence, without amounting of itself to any degree of legal 
proof. But the Sovereign Council of Martinique, hum- 
bly represented to his majesty that great inconveniences 
might result from the execution of this law, by the impu- 
nity of many crimes, which could not be proved otherwise 
than by the testimony of slaves ; and they prayed that such 
evidence might be received in all cases in which there 
should not be sufficient proof by free witnesses. In 
consequence of this, the article in question was varied 
so far as to admit the testimony of slaves, when white 
witnesses were wanting, except against their masters." 


Prop. 6. — The master has absolute power to punish a 
slave, fyc. 

Stroud says, " There was a time in many, if not in all 
the slave holding districts of our country, when the 
murder of a slave was followed by a pecuniary fine only. 
In one State, the change of the law in this respect has 
been very recent. At the present date (1827) I am 
happy to say the wilful, malicious, deliberate murder of 
a slave, by whomsoever perpetrated, is declared to be 
punishable with death in every State. The evil is not 
that the laws sanction crime, but that they do not punish 
it. And this arises chiefly, if not solely, from the exclu- 
sion of the testimony, on the trial of a white person, of 
all those who are not white. " 

" The conflicting influences of humanity and prejudice 
are strangely contrasted in the law of North Carolina 
on this subject. An act passed in 1798, runs thus: 
' Whereas by another act of assembly, passed in the 
year 1774, the killing of a slave, however wanton, cruel, 
and deliberate, is only punishable in the first instance 
by imprisonment, and paying the value thereof to the 
owner, which distinction of criminality between the mur- 
der of a white person and one who is equally a human 
creature, but merely of a different complexion, is disgrace- 
ful to humanity, and degrading in the highest degree to 
the laws and principles of a free Christian, and enlight- 
ened country, be it enacted, &c. that if any person shall 
hereafter be guilty of wilfully and maliciously killing a 
slave, such offenders shall, upon the first conviction 
thereof, be adjudged guilty of murder, and shall suffer 
the same punishment as if he had killed a free man ; 
Provided always, this act shall not extend to the person 
killing a slave outlawed by virtue of any act of assembly 
of this state, or to any slave in the act of resistance* to 
his lawful owner or master, or to any slave dying under 


In the laws of Tennessee and Georgia, there is a simi- 
lar proviso. Where could such a monstrous anomaly be 

* u It has been judicially determined that it is justifiable to kill a 
slave, resisting, or offering to resist his master, by force." — Stroud. 


found, save in a code of slave laws 1 Die of moderate 
punishment ! ! Truly> this is an unveiling of consciences ! 

" To set the matter in its proper light, it may be added 
that a proclamation of outlawry* against a slave is au- 
thorized, whenever he runs away from his master, con- 
ceals himself in some obscure retreat, and to sustain 
life, kills a hog, or some animal of the cattle kind ! 

" A pecuniary mulct was the only restraint upon the 
wilful murder of a slave, from the year 1740 to 1821, a 
period of more than eighty years. I find in the case of 
The State vs. MGee, 1 Bay's Reports, 164. it is said 
incidentally by Messrs Pinckney and Ford, counsel for 
the State, that the frequency of the offence was owing 
to the nature of the punishment. This was said in the 
public court-house by men of great respectability ; never- 
theless, thirty years elapsed before a change of the law 
was effected. So far as I have been able to learn, the 
following section has disgraced the statute-book of South 
Carolina from the year 1740 to the present hour : ' In 
case any person shall wilfully cut out the tongue, put 
out the eye, cruelly scald, burn, or deprive any slave of 
any limb, or member, or shall inflict any other cruel 
punishment, — [otherivise than by whipping, or heating, 
with a horsewhip, cowskin, switch, or small stick, or by 
putting irons on, or confining, or imprisoning such 
slave,] — every such person shall for every such offence, 
forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.' 
Here is direct legislation to sanction beating without 
limit, with horsewhip or cowskin, — the application of 
irons to the human body, — and perpetual incarceration 
in a dungeon, according to the will of the master ; and 
the mutilation of limbs is paid by a trifling penalty ! 

" The revised code of Louisiana declares : ( The slave 
is entirely subject to the will of the master, who may 

" The outlawry of a slave is not, I believe, an unusual occur- 
rence. Very recently, a particular account was given of the killing 
of a black man, not charged with any offence by a person in pursuit 
of an outlaiced slave; owing as it was stated, to the person killed 
not answering a call made by his pursuers. Whether the call was 
heard or not, of course could not be ascertained, nor did it appear to 
have excited any inquiry." — Stroud. 



correct and chastise him, though not with unusual rigor, 
nor so as to maim or mutilate him, or to expose him to 
the danger of loss of life, or to cause his death.' " Who 
shall decide what punishment is unusual ? 

In Missouri, if a slave refuses to obey his or her master, 
mistress, overseer, or employer, in any lawful commands, 
such slaves may be committed to the county jail, there 
to remain as long as his owner pleases. 

In some of the States there are indeed restraining 
laws ; but they are completely ineffectual from the diffi- 
culty of obtaining the evidence of white men. 

" The same despotic power can be exerted by the attor- 
ney, manager, driver, or any other person who is, for the 
time being, placed over the slave by order of the owner, 
or his delegates. The following is the language of the 
Louisiana code ; and it represents the established cus- 
toms of all the slave holding States : * The condition 
of a slave being merely a passive one, his subordination 
to his master, and to all who represent him, is not sus- 
ceptible of any modification, or restriction, [except in 
what can incite the slave to the commission of crime] 
in such manner, that he owes to his master, and to all his 
family a respect without bounds, and an absolute obedi- 
ence ; and he is consequently to execute all the orders, 
which he receives from his said master, or from them. 5 " 
What chance of mercy the slave has from the gener- 
ality of overseers, may be conjectured from the following 
testimony given by a distinguished Virginian : Mr Wirt, 
in his " Life of Patrick Henry," speaking of the different 
classes in Virginia, says : " Last and lowest, afeculum 
of beings called overseers — the most abject, degraded, 
unprincipled race — always cap in hand to the Dons who 
employed them, and furnishing materials for the exercise 
of their pride, insolence, and spirit of domination." 

The Gentoo code, the most ancient in the world, al- 
lowed a wife, a son, a pupil, a younger brother, or a slave to 
be whipped with a lash, or bamboo twig, in such a manner 
as not to occasion any dangerous hurt ; and w T hoever 
transgressed the rule, suffered the punishment of a thief. 
In this case, the slave and other members of the family 
were equally protected. 


The Mosaic law was as follows : " If a man smite 
the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it per- 
ish, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he 
smite out his man servant's tooth, or his maid servant's 
tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake." Ex- 
odus, xxi. 26, 27. 

Prop. 7. — The slave never allowed to resist a white 

It is enacted in Georgia, " If any slave shall presume 
to strike any white man, such slave, upon trial and con- 
viction before the justice, shall for the first offence, suf- 
fer such punishment as the said justice thinks fit, not 
extending to life or limb ; and for the second offence, 
death' It is the same in South Carolina, excepting that 
death is there the punishment of the third offence. — 
However wanton and dangerous the attack upon the 
slave may be, he must submit ; there is only one proviso 
— he may be excused for striking in defence of his 
master, overseer, &c. and of their property. In Mary- 
land, a colored man, even if he be free, may have his 
ears cropped for striking a white man. In Kentucky, it 
is enacted that " if any negro, mulatto, or Indian, bond 
ox free, shall at any time lift his or her hand, in opposition 
to any person not colored, they shall, the offence being 
proved before a justice of the peace, receive thirty lash- 
es on his or her bare back, well laid on." There is a 
ridiculous gravity in the following section of a law in 
Louisiana : " Free people of color ought never to insult 
or strike white people, nor presume to conceive them- 
selves equal to the whites ; but on the contrary, they 
ought to yield to them on every occasion, and never 
speak or answer them but with respect, under the pen- 
alty of imprisonment, according to the nature of the of- 

Such laws are a positive inducement to violent and vi- 
cious white men to oppress and injure people of color. 
In this point of view, a negro becomes the slave of every 
white man in the community. The brutal drunkard, or 
the ferocious madman, can beat, rob, and mangle him 
with perfect impunity. DrTorrey, in his " Portraiture of 



Domestic Slavery," relates an affecting anecdote, which 
happened near Washington. A free negro walking 
along the road, was set upon by two intoxicated ruffians 
on horseback, who, without any provocation, began to 
torture him for amusement. One of them tied him to 
the tail of his horse, and thus dragged him along, while 
the other followed, applying the lash. The poor fellow 
died by the road-side, in consequence of this treatment. 
The owner may prosecute when a slave is rendered 
unfit for labpr, by personal violence ; and in the Reports 
of these cases many painful facts come to light which 
would otherwise have remained forever unknown. See 
Judicial Reports. 

Prop. 8. — Slaves cannot redeem themselves or change 

Stroud says, " as to the right of redemption, this propo- 
sition holds good in all the slave-holding States ; and is 
equally true as it respects the right to compel a change of 
masters, except in Louisiana. According to the new 
civil code of that State, the latter privilege may some- 
times, perhaps, be obtained by the slave. But the mas- 
ter must first be convicted of cruelty — a task so formi- 
dable that it can hardly be ranked among possibilities ; 
and secondly it is optioned with the judge, whether or 
not, to make the decree in favor of the slave." 

If a slave should not obtain a decree in his favor what 
has he to expect from a master exasperated against him, 
for making the attempt 1 

At Athens, so deservedly admired for the mildness of 
her slave laws, the door of freedom was opened widely. 
The abused slaves might fly to the Temple of Theseus, 
whence no one had a right to take them, except for the 
purpose of publicly investigating their wrongs. If their 
complaints were well founded, they were either enfran- 
chised, or delivered to more merciful hands. 

In the Roman Empire, from the time of Adrian and 
the Antonines,. slaves were protected by the laws, and 
undue severity being proved, they received freedom or a 
different master. 

By the Code Noir of the French islands, a slave cruelly 


treated is forfeited to the crown ; and the court, which 
judges the offence, has power to confer freedom on the 
sufferer. In the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, a 
slave on complaint of ill-usage obtains public protection ; 
he may be manumitted, or change his master. 

Prop. 9. — Slave unprotected in his domestic relations. 

In proof of this it is only necessary to repeat that the 
slave and his wife, and his daughters, are considered as 
the property of their owners, and compelled to yield im- 
plicit obedience — that he is allowed to give no evidence 
— that he must not resist any white man, under any cir- 
cumstances, which do not interfere with his master's in- 
terest — and finally, that public opinion ridicules the 
slave's claim to any exclusive right in his own wife and 

In Athens, the female slave could demand protection 
from the magistrates ; and if her complaints of insulting 
treatment were well founded, she could be sold to another 
master, who, in his turn, forfeited his claim by improper 

Prop. 10. — The laws obstruct emancipation. 

In nearly all slave-holding States, a slave emancipated 
by his master's will, may be seized and sold to satisfy any 
debt. In Louisiana, fraud of creditors is bv law consider- 
ed as proved, if it can be made to appear that the master, 
at the moment of executing the deed of enfranchisement, 
had not sufficient property to pay all his debts ; and if 
after payment of debts, there be not personal estate 
enough to satisfy the widow's claim to one third, his 
slaves, though declared to be free by his last will, are 
nevertheless liable to be sold for the widow's portion, -~ 
In South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, 
a valid emancipation can only be gained by authority of 
the Legislature, expressly granted. A slave owner can* 
not manumit his slaves without the formal consent of the 
Legislature. "In Georgia, any attempt to free a slave in 
any other manner than the prescribed form, is punished 
by a fine of two hundred dollars for each offence; and 
the slave or slaves are still, to all intents and purposes, in 
a state of slavery." A new act was passed in that State 
in 1818, by which any person, who endeavors to enfran^ 



chise a slave by will, testament, contract, or stipulation, 
or who contrives indirectly to confer freedom by allow- 
ing his slaves to enjoy the profit of their labor and skill, 
incurs a penalty not exceeding one thousand dollars ; and 
the slaves who have been the object of such benevolence, 
are ordered to be seized and sold at public outcry. 

In North Carolina, " no slave is allowed to be set free, 
except for meritorious services, to be adjudged of and 
allowed by the county court, and license first had and 
obtained thereupon ;" and any slave manumitted con- 
trary to this regulation may be seized, put in jail, and sold 
to the highest bidder. In Mississippi all the above 
obstacles to emancipation are combined in one act. 

In Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, and Maryland, great- 
er facilities are afforded to emancipation. An instrument 
in writing, signed by two witnesses, or acknowledged by 
the owner of the slave in open court, is sufficient ; the 
court reserving the power to demand security for the 
maintenance of aged or infirm slaves. By the Virginia 
laws, an emancipated negro, more than twentyone years 
old, is liable to be again reduced to slavery, if he remain 
in the State more than twelve months after his manumis- 

In Louisiana, a slave cannot be emancipated, unless 
he is thirty years old and has behaved well at least four 
years preceding his freedom ; except a slave who has 
saved the life of his master, his master's wife, or one of 
his children. It is necessary to make known to the 
judge the intention of conferring freedom, who may au- 
thorize it, after it has been advertised at the door of the 
court house forty days, without exciting any opposition. 

Stephens in his history of West India slavery, supposes 
that the colonial codes of England are the only ones 
expressly framed to obstruct emancipation. He is mis- 
taken ; — the American republics share that distinction 
with their mother country. There are plenty of better 
things in England to imitate. 

According to the Mosaic law, a Hebrew could not 
retain his brother, whom he might buy as a servant, more 
than six years, against his consent, and in the seventh 
year he went out free for nothing. If he came by him- 


self, he went out by himself; if he were married when 
he came, his wife went with him. Exodus, xxi. Dent. 
xv. Jeremiah, xxxiv. Besides this, Hebrew slaves were, 
without exception, restored to freedom by the Jubilee. — 
" Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty 
throughout the land, and unto all the inhabitants there- 
of." Leviticus, xxv. 10. 

At Athens, if the slave possessed property enough to 
buy his freedom, the law compelled the master to grant 
it, whenever the money was offered. 

The severe laws of Rome discouraged manumission ; 
but it was a very common thing for slaves to pay for free- 
dom out of their peculium ; and public opinion made it 
dishonorable to retain them in bondage under such 
circumstances. " According to Cicero, sober and in- 
dustrious slaves, who became such by captivity in war, 
seldom remained in servitude above six years." 

" In Turkey, the right of redemption is expressly reg- 
ulated by the Koran. The master is commanded to give 
to all his slaves, that behave themselves faithfully, a 
writing, fixing beforehand the price at which they may 
be redeemed ; and which he is bound to accept, when 
tendered by them, or on their behalf." 

" In Brazil, a slave who can pay the value of his ser- 
vitude, (the fair price of which may be settled by the 
magistrate,) has a right to demand his freedom. And 
the case frequently happens ; for the slaves have one 
day in the week, and in some places two days, exclu- 
sively of Sundays and other festivals, which the indus- 
trious employ in providing a fund for their redemption." 

" In the Spanish colonies, the law is still more liberal. 
The civil magistrates are empowered to decide upon the 
just price of a slave, and when the negro is able to offer 
this sum, his master is compelled to grant his freedom. 
He may even redeem himself progressively. For in- 
stance, by paying a sixth part of his appreciation, he 
may redeem for his own use one day in the week ; by 
employing this industriously, he will soon be enabled to 
buy another day ; by pursuing the same laudable course, 
the remainder of his time may be redeemed with contin- 


ually accelerated progress, till he becomes entitled to 
entire manumission." 

Prop. 11. — Operation of the laws interferes with re- 
ligious privileges. 

No places of public worship are prepared for the 
negro ; and churches are so scarce in the slave holding 
States, compared with the number of white inhabitants, 
that it is not to be supposed great numbers of them fol- 
low their masters to such places ; and if they did, what 
could their rude, and merely sensual minds com- 
prehend of a discourse addressed to educated men 1 In 
Georgia, there is a law which forbids any congregation 
or company of negroes to assemble themselves con- 
trary to the act regulating patrols. Every justice of the 
peace may go in person, or send a constable, to disperse 
any assembly or meeting of slaves, which may disturb 
the peace, endanger the safety, &c, and every slave 
taken at such meetings may, by order of the justice, 
without trial, receive on the bare back twentyfive stripes 
with whip, switch, or cowskin. In South Carolina, an 
act forbids the police officers to break into any place of 
religious meeting before nine o'clock, provided a major- 
ity of the assembly are white persons ; but if the quorum 
of white people should happen to be wanting, every slave 
would be liable to twentyfive lashes of the cowskin. 

These, and various similar regulations, are obviously 
made to prevent insurrections ; but it is plain that they 
must materially interfere with the slave's opportunities 
for religious instruction. The fact is, there are incon- 
veniences attending a general diffusion of Christianity in 
a slave holding State — light must follow its path, and 
that light would reveal the surrounding darkness, — 
slaves might begin to think whether slavery could be 
reconciled with religious precepts, — and then the sys- 
tem is quite too republican — it teaches that all men are 
children of the same Heavenly Father, who careth alike 
for all. 

The West India planters boldly and openly declared, 
that slavery and Christianity could not exist together ; in 
their minds the immediate inference was, that Chris- 
tianity must be put down ; and very consistently they 


began to fine and imprison Methodist missionaries, burn 
chapels,* &c. 

In Rome, the introduction of " Christianity abolished 
slavery ; the idea of exclusive property in our fellow men 
was too obviously at variance with its holy precepts ; and 
its professors, in the sincerity of their hearts, made a 
formal surrender of such claims. In various ancient in- 
struments of emancipation, the masters begin by declar- 
ing, that, ' for the love of God and Jesus Christ, for the 
easing of their consciences, and the safety of their souls/ 
they set their bondmen free." 

Ci It is remarkable that the ancient inhabitants of 
Great Britain used to sell their countrymen, and even 
their own children, to the Irish. The port of Bristol, 
afterwards so famous for the African slave trade, was 
then equally distinguished as a market for the same com- 
modity, though of a different color. But when Ireland, 
in the year 1172, was afflicted with public calamities, the 
clergy and people of that generous nation began to re- 
proach themselves with the unchristian practice of hold- 
ing their fellow men in slavery. Their English bondmen 
though fully paid for, were, by an unanimous resolution of 
the Armagh Assembly, set at liberty. Their repentance 
dictated present restitution to the injured. More than 
six hundred years afterward, when Mr Wilberforce made 
his first motion for the abolition of the slave trade, he 
was supported by every Irish member of the House of 
Commons." May God bless thee, warm hearted, gener- 
ous old Ireland ! 

In the English and Dutch colonies, baptism was gen- 
erally supposed to confer freedom on the slave ; and for 
this reason, masters were reluctant to have them bap- 
tised. They got over this difficulty, however, and 
married self-interest to conscience, by making a law that 
" no slave should become free by being a Christian." 

i The slaves of any one owner may meet together for religious 
purposes, if authorized by their master, and private chaplains may 
be hired to preach to them. The domestic slaves, who are entirely 
employed in the family, no doubt fare much better in this respect, 
than the plantation slaves ; but this, and all other negro privileges, 
depend entirely upon the slave's luck in the character of his master, 



This is a striking proof how closely Christianity and 
liberty are associated together.* 

A French planter of St Domingo, in a book which he 
published concerning that colony, admits that it is desi- 
rable to have negroes know enough of religion to make 
them friends to humanity, and grateful to their Creator ; 
but he considers it very wrong to load their weak minds 
with a belief in supernatural dogmas, such as a belief 
in a future state. He says, " such knowledge is apt 
to render them intractable, averse to labor, and induces 
them to commit suicide on themselves and their chil- 
dren, of which the colony, the state, and commerce have 
equal need." 

Our slave holders, in general, seem desirous to have 
the slave just religious enough to know that insurrec- 
tions and murder are contrary to the maxims of Chris- 
tianity ; but it is very difficult to have them learn just 
so much as this, without learning more. In Georgia, 
I have been told, that a very general prejudice pre- 
vails against white missionaries. To avoid this dan- 
ger, old domestic slaves, who are better informed than 
the plantation slaves, are employed to hear sermons 
and repeat them to their brethren ; and their repetitions 
are said to be strange samples of pulpit eloquence. One 
of these old negroes, as the story goes, told his hearers 
that the Bible said slaves ought to get their freedom ; 
and if they could not do it in any other way, they must 
murder their masters. The slaves had never been al- 
lowed to learn to read, and of course they could not dis- 
pute that such a doctrine was actually in the Scriptures. 
Thus do unjust and absurd laws " return to plague the 

Prop. 12. — Whole power of the laws exerted to keep 
negroes in ignorance. 

South Carolina made the first law upon this subject. 
While yet a province, she laid a penalty of one hundred 
pounds upon any person who taught a slave to write, or 
allowed him to be taught to write.* In Virginia, any 

* Yet it has been said that these laws are entirely owing to the 
rash efforts of the abolitionists. 


school for teaching reading and writing, either to slaves, 
or free people of color, is considered an unlawful assem- 
bly, and may accordingly be dispersed, and punishment 
administered upon each pupil not exceeding twenty lashes. 

In South Carolina, the law is the same. 

The city of Savannah, in Georgia, a few years ago, 
passed an ordinance, by which " any person that teaches 
a person of color, slave or free, to read or write, or 
causes such persons to be so taught, is subjected to a 
fine of thirty dollars for each offence ; and every person 
of color who shall teach reading or writing, is subject 
to a fine of thirty dollars, or to be imprisoned ten days 
and whipped thirtynine lashes." 

From these facts it is evident that legislative power 
prevents a master from giving liberty and instruction to 
his slave, even when such a course would be willingly 
pursued by a benevolent individual. The laws allow 
almost unlimited power to do mischief ; but the power 
to do good is effectually restrained. 

Prop. 13. — There is a monstrous, inequality of law 
and right. 

In a civilized country, one would expect that if any 
disproportion existed in the laws, it would be in favor of 
the ignorant and defenceless ; but the reverse is lament- 
ably the case here. Obedience to the laws is the price 
freemen pay for the protection of the laws ; — but the 
same legislatures which absolutely sanction the negro's 
wrongs, and, to say the least, make very inadequate pro- 
visions for his safety, claim the right to punish him with 
inordinate severity. 

" In Kentucky, white men are condemned to death for 
four crimes only ; slaves meet a similar punishment for 
eleven crimes. In South Carolina, white persons suffer 
death for twentyseven crimes ; slaves incur a similar fate 
for thirtysix crimes. In Georgia, whites are punished 
capitally for three crimes only ; slaves for at least nine. 
Stroud says there are seventyone crimes in the slave 
States, for which negroes are punished with death, and 
for each and every one of these crimes the white man 
suffers nothing worse than imprisonment in the peni- 


" Trial by jury is utterly denied to the slave, even in 
criminal accusations which may affect his life, in South 
Carolina, Virginia, and Louisiana, instead of a jury, is 
substituted a tribunal composed of two justices of the 
peace and from three to five /ree-holders, (i. e. slave- 
holders.) In Virginia it is composed of five justices mere- 
ly. What chance has an ignorant slave before a tribunal 
chosen by his accuser, suddenly convoked, and consist- 
ing of but five persons V 

If a slave is found out of the limits of the town in 
which he lives, or beyond the plantation on which he is 
usually employed, without a written permission from his 
master, or the company of some white person, any body 
may inflict twenty lashes upon him • and if the slave 
resist such punishment, he may be lawfully killed. 

If a slave visit another plantation without leave in 
writing from his master, the owner of the plantation may 
give him ten lashes. 

More than seven slaves walking or standing together 
in the road, without a white man, may receive twenty 
lashes each from any person. 

Any slave, or Indian, who takes away, or lets loose a 
boat, from any place where it is fastened, receives thirty- 
nine lashes for the first offence ; and, according to some 
laws, one ear is cut off for the second offence. 

For carrying gun, powder, shot, a club, or any weapon 
whatsoever, offensive or defensive, thirtynine lashes by 
order of a justice ; and in some States, twenty lashes 
from the nearest constable, without a conviction by the 

For selling any article, without a specific ticket from 
his master, ten lashes by the captain of the patrollers,* or 
thirtynine by order of a magistrate. The same punish- 
ment for being at any assembly deemed unlawful. 

For travelling by himself from his master's land to any, 
other place, unless by the most accustomed road, forty 
lashes ; the same for travelling in the night without a 

* The patrols are very generally low and dissipated characters, 
and the cruelties which negroes suffer from them, while in a state 
of intoxication, are sometimes shocking. The law endows these 
men with very great power. 


pass; the same for being found in another negro's kitch- 
en, or quarters ; and every negro found in company with 
such vagrant, receives twenty lashes. 

For hunting with dogs, even in the woods of his mas- 
ter, thirty lashes. 

For running away and lurking in swamps, a negro 
may be lawfully killed by any person. If a slave happen 
to die of moderate correction, it is likewise justifiable 

For endeavoring to entice another slave to run away, 
if provisions are prepared, the slave is punished with 
death ; and any negro aiding or abetting suffers death. 

Thirtynine stripes for harboring a runaway slave one 

For disobeying orders, imprisonment, as long as the 
master chooses. 

For riding on horseback, without written permission, 
or for keeping a dog, twenty five lashes. 

For rambling, riding, or going abroad in the night, or 
riding horses in the day without leave, a slave may be 
whipped, cropped, or branded on the cheek with the letter 
R, or otherwise punished, not extending to life, or so as to 
unfit him for labor. 

For beating the Patuxent river, to catch fish, ten lash- 
es; for placing a seine across Transquakin, and Chick- 
wiccimo creeks, thirtynine lashes by order of a justice. 

For advising the murder of a person, one hundred 
lashes may be given. 

A runaway slave may be put into jail, and the jailer 
must forthwith send a letter by mail, to the man whom 
the negro says is his owner. If an answer does not ar- 
rive at the proper time, the jailer must inflict twenty five 
lashes, well laid on, and interrogate anew. If the slave's 
second statement be not corroborated by the letter from 
the owner, twentyfive lashes are again administered. — 
The act very coolly concludes thus: " and so on, for the 
space of six months, it shall be the duty of the jailer to 
interrogate and whip as aforesaid." 

The letter may miscarry — the owner may reside at a 
great distance from the Post-Office, and thus long delays 
may occur — the ignorant slave may not know his mas- 



ter's christian name — the jailer may not spell it aright ; 
but no matter — " it is the jailer's duty to interrogate 
and whip, as aforesaid." 

The last authorized edition of the laws of Maryland, 
comprises the following : " If any slave be convicted of 
any petit treason, or murder, or wilfully burning of 
dwelling houses, it may be lawful for the justices to give 
judgment against such slave to have the right hand cut 
off, to be hanged in the usual manner, the head severed 
from the body, the body divided into four quarters, and 
the head and quarters set up in the most public places of 
the county," &c. 

The laws of Tennessee and Missouri are comparatively 
mild ; yet in Missouri it is death to prepare or adminis- 
ter medicine without the master's consent, unless it can 
be proved that there was no evil intention. The law in 
Virginia is similar ; it requires proof that there was no 
evil intention, and that the medicine produced no bad 

To estimate fully the cruel injustice of these laws, it 
must be remembered that the poor slave is without reli- 
gious instruction, unable to read, too ignorant to com- 
prehend legislation, and holding so little communication 
with any person better informed than himself, that the 
chance is, he does not even know the existence of half the 
laws by which he suffers. This is worthy of Nero, who 
caused his edicts to be placed so high that they could 
not be read, and then beheaded his subjects for disobey- 
ing them. 

Prop. 14. — The laws operate oppressively on free col- 
ored people. 

Free people of color, like the slaves, are excluded by 
law from all means of obtaining the common elements of 

The free colored man may at any time be taken up on 
suspicion, and be condemned and imprisoned as a runa- 
way slave, unless he can prove the contrary ; and be it 
remembered, none but white evidence, or written docu- 
ments, avail him. The common law supposes a man to 
be innocent, until he is proved guilty ; but slave law 
turns this upside down. Every colored man is presumed 


to be a slave, till it can be proved otherwise ; this rule 
prevails in all the slave States, except North Carolina, 
where it is confined to negroes. Stephens supposes this 
harsh doctrine to be peculiar to the British Colonial 
Code ; but in this he is again mistaken— the American 
republics share the honor with England. 

A law passed in December, 1822, in South Carolina, 
provides that any free colored persons coming into port 
on board of any vessel shall be seized and imprisoned 
during the stay of the vessel ; and when she is ready to 
depart, the captain shall take such free negroes and pay 
the expenses of their arrest and imprisonment ; and in 
case of refusing so to do, he shall be indicted and fined 
not less than one thousand dollars, and imprisoned not 
less than two months ; and such free negroes shall be 
sold for slaves. The Circuit Court of the United States, 
adjudged the law unconstitutional and void. Yet nearly 
two years after this decision, four colored English sea- 
men were taken out of the brig Marmion. England 
made a formal complaint to our Government. Mr Wirt 
the Attorney General gave the opinion that the law was 
unconstitutional. This, as well as the above mentioned 
decision, excited strong indignation in South Carolina. 
Notwithstanding the decision, the law still remains in 
force, and other States have followed the example of 
South Carolina, though with a more cautious observance 
of appearances. 

In South Carolina, if any free negro harbor, conceal, 
or entertain, any runaway slave, or a slave charged with 
any criminal matter, he forfeits ten pounds for the first 
day, and twenty shillings for every succeeding day. In 
case of inability to pay, the free negro is sold at auction, 
and if any overplus remain, after the fines and attendant 
expenses are paid, it is put into the hands of the public 

The free negro may entertain a slave without knowing 
that he has done anything wrong ; but his declaration 
to that effect is of no avail. Where every effort is made 
to prevent colored people from obtaining any money, they 
are of course often unable to pay the penalties imposed. 

If any omission is made in the forms of emancipation 



established by law, any person whatsoever may seize the 
negro so manumitted, and appropriate him to their own 

If a free colored person remain in Virginia twelve 
months after his manumission, he can be sold by the 
overseers of the poor for the benefit of the literary fund ! 

In Georgia, a free colored man, except a regular arti- 
cled seaman, is fined one hundred dollars for coming 
into the State ; and if he cannot pay it, may be sold at 
public outcry. This act has been changed to one of in- 
creased severity. A free colored person cannot be a 
witness against a white man. They may therefore be 
robbed, assaulted, kidnapped and carried off with impu- 
nity ; and even the legislatures of the old slave States 
adopt it as a maxim that it is very desirable to get rid of 
them. It is of no avail to declare themselves free ; the 
law presumes them to be slaves, unless they can prove to 
the contrary. In many instances written documents of 
freedom have been wrested from free colored people and 
destroyed by kidnappers. A lucrative internal slave 
trade furnishes constant temptation to the commission of 
such crimes ; and the new States of Alabama, Mississippi, 
Missouri, and the territories of Arkansas, and the Flori- 
das, are not likely to be glutted for years to come. 

In Philadelphia, though remote from a slave market, 
it has been ascertained that more than thirty free per- 
sons of color, were stolen and carried off within two 
years. Stroud says : " Five of these have been restored 
to their friends, by the interposition of humane gentle- 
men, though not without great expense and difficulty. 
The others are still in bondage ; and if rescued at all, it 
must be by sending white witnesses a journey of more 
than a thousand miles." 

I know the names of four colored citizens of Massa- 
chusetts, who went to Georgia on board a vessel, were 
seized under the law r s of that State, and sold as slaves. 
They have sent the most earnest exhortations to their 
families and friends to do something for their relief; 
but the attendant expenses require more money than 
the friends of negroes are apt to have, and the poor fel- 
lows as yet remain unassisted. 


A New York paper, November, 1829, contains the 
following caution : 

" Beware of kidnappers ! — It is well understood that 
there is at present in this city, a gang of kidnappers, bu- 
sily.engaged in their vocation of stealing colored child- 
ren for the Southern market ! It is believed that three 
or four have been stolen within as many days. A little 
negro boy came to this city from the country three or 
four days ago. Some strange white persons were very 
friendly to him, and yesterday morning he was mightily 
pleased that they had given him some new clothes. And 
the persons pretending thus to befriend him, entirely se- 
cured his confidence. This day he cannot be found. — 
Nor can he be traced since seen with one of his new 
friends yesterday. There are suspicions of a foul na- 
ture, connected with some who serve the police in sub- 
ordinate capacities. It is hinted that there may be 
those in some authority, not altogether ignorant of these 
diabolical practices. Let the public be on their guard ! 
It is still fresh in the memories of all, that a cargo, or 
rather drove, of negroes was made up from this city and 
Philadelphia, about the time that the emancipation of 
all the negroes in this State took place under our present 
constitution, and were taken through Virginia, the Car- 
olinas, and Tennessee, and disposed of in the state of 
Mississippi. Some of those who were taken from Phil- 
adelphia were persons of intelligence, and after they had 
been driven through the country in chains, and disposed 
of by sale on the Mississippi, wrote back to their friends, 
and were rescued from bondage. The persons who 
were guilty of this abominable transaction are known, 
and now reside in North Carolina ; they may, very prob- 
ably, be engaged in similar enterprises at the present 
time — at least there is reason to believe that the system 
of kidnapping free persons of color from the Northern 
cities has been carried on more extensively than the 
public are generally aware of." 

This, and other evils of the system, admit of no radi- 
cal cure but the utter extinction of slavery. To enact 
laws prohibiting the slave traffic, and at the same time 




tempt avarice by the allurements of an insatiable market 9 
is irreconcilable and absurd. 

To my great surprise, I find that the free States of 
Ohio and Indiana disgrace themselves by admitting the 
same maxim of law, which prevents any black or mu- 
latto from being witness against a white man ! 

It is naturally supposed that free negroes will sympa- 
thize with their enslaved brethren, and that, notwith- 
standing all exertions to the contrary, they will become 
a little more intelligent ; this excites a peculiar jealousy 
and hatred in the white population, of which it is im- 
possible to enumerate ail the hardships. Even in the 
laws, slaves are always mentioned before free people of 
color ; so desirous are they to degrade the latter class 
below the level of the former. To complete the wrong, 
this unhappy class are despised in consequence of the 
very evils we ourselves have induced — for as slavery 
inevitably makes its victims servile and vicious, and as 
none but negroes are allowed to be slaves, we, from our 
very childhood, associate everything that is degraded 
with the mere color ; though in fact the object of our 
contempt may be both exemplary and intelligent. In 
this w T ay the Africans are doubly the victims of our in- 
justice ; and thus does prejudice " make the meat it 
feeds on." 

I have repeatedly said that our slave laws are contin- 
ually increasing in severity : as a proof of this I will 
.o-ive a brief view of some of the most striking, which 
have been passed since Stroud published his compendium 
of slave laws, in 1827. In the first class are contained 
those enactments directly oppressive to people of color ; 
in the second are those which injure them indirectly, by 
the penalties or disabilities imposed upon the whites, 
who instruct, assist, or employ them, or endeavor, in any 
w r ay, to influence public opinion in their favor. 

Class First. — The Legislature of Virginia passed a 
law in 1831, by which any free colored person who un- 
dertakes to preach, or conduct any religious meeting, by 
day or night, may be whipped not exceeding thirtynine 
lashes, at the discretion of any justice of the peace ; 
and anybody may apprehend any such free colored per- 


son without a warrant. The same penalty, adjudged 
and executed in the same way, falls upon any slave, or 
free colored person, who attends such preaching ; and 
any slave who listens to any white preacher, in the night 
time, receives the same punishment. The same law pre- 
vails in Georgia, and Mississippi. A master may permit 
a slave to preach on his plantation, to none but his slaves. 

There is a naivete in the following preamble to a law 
passed by North Carolina, in 1831, which would be 
amusing, if the subject were not too serious for mirth : 
" Whereas teaching slaves to read and write has a ten- 
dency to excite dissatisfaction in their minds, and to pro- 
duce insurrection and rebellion, " therefore it is enacted 
that teaching a slave to read or write, or giving or sell- 
ing to a slave any book, or pamphlet, shall be punished 
with thirtynine lashes, if the offender be a free black, or 
with imprisonment at the discretion of the court ; if a 
slave, the offence is punishable with thirtynine lashes, on 
his or her bare back, on conviction before a justice of 
the peace. 

In Georgia, any slave, or free person of color, is for a 
similar offence, fined or whipped, or fined and whipped 
at the discretion of the court. 

In Louisiana, twelve months' imprisonment is the pen- 
alty for teaching a slave to read or write. 

For publishing, or circulating, in the state of North 
Carolina, any pamphlet or paper having an evident ten- 
dency to excite slaves, or free persons of color, to insur- 
rection or resistance, imprisonment not less than one 
year, and standing in the pillory, and, whipping, at the 
discretion of the court for the first offence ; and death 
for the second. The same offence punished with death 
in Georgia, without any reservation. In Mississippi, the 
same as in Georgia. In Louisiana, the same offence 
punished either with imprisonment for life, or death, at 
the discretion of the court. In Virginia, the first offence 
of this sort is punished with thirtynine lashes, the second 
with death. 

With regard to publications having a tendency to pro- 
mote discontent among slaves, their masters are so very 
jealous, that it would be difficult to find any book, that 


would not come under their condemnation. The Bible, 
and the Declaration of Independence are certainly un- 
safe. The preamble to the North Carolina law declares, 
that the Alphabet has a tendency to excite dissatisfac- 
tion ; I suppose it is because freedom may be spelt out 
of it. A store keeper in South Carolina was nearly 
ruined by having unconsciously imported certain printed 
handkerchiefs, which his neighbors deemed seditious. A 
friend of mine asked, " Did the handkerchiefs contain 
texts from scripture ? or quotations from the Constitution 
of the United States ?" 

Emancipated slaves must quit North Carolina in ninety 
days after their enfranchisement, on pain of being sold 
for life. Free persons of color who shall migrate into 
that State, may be seized and sold as runaway slaves ; 
and if they migrate out of the State for more than ninety 
days, they can never return under the same penalty. 

This extraordinary use of the word migrate furnishes 
a new battering ram against the free colored class, which 
is everywhere so odious to slave owners. A visit to rela- 
tions in another State may be called migrating ; being 
taken up and detained by kidnappers, over ninety days, 
may be called migrating ; — for where neither the evi- 
dence of the sufferer nor any of his own color is allowed, 
it will evidently amount to this. 

In South Carolina, if a free negro cross the line of the 
State, he can never return. 

In 1831, Mississippi passed a law to expel all colored 
persons under sixty and over sixteen years of age from 
the State, within ninety days, unless they could prove 
good characters, and obtain from the court a certificate 
of the same, for which they paid three dollars ; these 
certificates might be revoked at the discretion of the 
county courts. If such persons do not quit the State 
within the time specified, or if they return to it, they may 
be sold for a term not exceeding five years. 

In Tennessee, slaves are not allowed to be emancipa- 
ted unless they leave the State forthwith. Any free 
colored person emigrating into this State, is fined from 
ten to fifty dollars, and hard labor in the penitentiary 
from one to two years. 

North Carolina has made a law subjecting any vessel 


with free colored persons on board to thirty days' quaran- 
tine; as if freedom were as bad as the cholera! Any person 
of color coming on shore from such vessels is seized and 
imprisoned, till the vessel departs ; and the captain is fined 
five hundred dollars ; and if he refuse to take the colored 
seaman away, and pay all the expenses of his imprison- 
ment, he is fined five hundred more. If the sailor do 
not depart within ten days after his captain's refusal, he 
must be whipped thirtynine lashes ; and all colored per- 
sons, bond or free, who communicate with him, receive 
the same. 

In Georgia, there is a similar enactment. The pro- 
hibition is, in both States, confined to merchant vessels, 
(it would be imprudent to meddle with vessels of war ;) 
and any colored person communicating with such sea- 
men is whipped not exceeding thirty lashes. If the cap- 
tain refuse to carry away seamen thus detained, and 
pay the expenses of their imprisonment, he shall be fined 
five hundred dollars, and also imprisoned, not exceeding 
three months. 

These State laws are a direct violation of the Laws of 
Nations, and our treaties ; and may involve the United 
States in a foreign war. 

Colored seamen are often employed in Spanish, Portu- 
guese, French, and English vessels. These nations are 
bound to know the United States Laws; but can they 
be expected to know the enactments of particular States 
and cities ? and if they know them, are they bound to 
observe them, if they interfere with the established rules 
of nations? When Mr Wirt pronounced these laws un-. 
constitutional, great excitement was produced in South 
Carolina. The Governor of that State in his Message to 
the Legislature implied that separation from the Union 
was the only remedy, if the laws of the Southern States 
could not be enforced. They seem to require uncondi- 
tional submission abroad as well as at home. 

The endeavor to prevent insurrections in this way, is 
as wise as to attempt to extinguish fire with spirits of 
wine. The short-sighted policy defeats itself. A free 
colored sailor was lately imprisoned with seven slaves : 
Here was a fine opportunity to sow the seeds of seajtion 
in their minds ! 


The upholders of slavery will in vain contend with the 
liberal spirit of the age ; it is too strong for them. — 
They may as well try to bottle up the sunshine for their 
own exclusive use, as to attempt to keep knowledge 
and freedom to themselves. We all know that such an 
experiment would result in bottling up darkness for them- 
selves, while exactly the same amount of sunshine re- 
mained abroad for the use of their neighbors. 

In North Carolina, free negroes are whipped^ fined, 
and imprisoned at the discretion of the court, for inter- 
marrying with slaves. 

In Georgia, free colored persons when unable to pay 
any fine, may be sold for a space of time not exceeding 
five years. This limitation does not probably avail 
much; if sold to another master before the five years 
expired, they would never be likely to be free again. 

Several other laws have been passed in Georgia, pro- 
hibiting slaves from living apart from their master, either 
to labor for other persons, or to sell refreshments, or to 
carry on any trade or business although with their mas- 
ter's consent. Any person of color, bond or free, is 
forbidden to occupy any tenement except a kitchen ox 
an outhouse, under penalty of from twenty to fifty lashes. 
Some of these laws are applicable only to particular 
cities, towns, or counties ; others to several counties. 

Sundry general laws of a penal nature have been made 
more penal ; and the number of offences, for which a 
colored person may suffer death, is increased. 

A law passed in Tennessee, in 1831, provides that ne- 
groes for conspiracy to rebel, shall be punished with 
whipping, imprisonment and pillory, at the discretion of 
the court; it has this curious proviso — " Householders 
may serve as jurors, if slave-holders cannot be had !" * 
The Southern courts need to have a great deal of discre- 
tion, since so much is trusted to it. 

Class Second. — In Virginia, white persons who teach 
any colored person to read or write, are fined not exceed- 
ing fifty dollars ; for teaching slaves for pay, from ten to 
twenty dollars for each offence. 

*The Common Law assigns for the trial of a foreigner, six jurors 
of his own nation, and six native Englishmen. 


In Georgia, a similar offence is fined not exceeding 
five hundred dollars, and imprisoned at the discretion of 
the court. Knowledge seems to be peculiarly jpokerish 
in Georgia. 

In North Carolina, if a white person teach a slave to 
read or write, or give or sell him any book, &c, he is 
fined from one to two hundred dollars. 

In Louisiana, any white person, who teaches a slave to 
read or write, is imprisoned one year. And if any per- 
son shall use any language from the bar, bench, stage, 
pulpit, or any other place, — or hold any conversation 
having a tendency to promote discontent among free col- 
ored people, or insubordination among slaves, he may 
be imprisoned at hard labor, not less than three, nor 
more than twentyone years ; or he may suffer death — at 
the discretion of the court. 

In Mississippi, a white man, who prints or circulates 
doctrines, sentiments, advice, or innuendoes, likely to pro- 
duce discontent among the colored class, is fined from 
one hundred to a thousand dollars, and imprisoned from 
three to twelve months. 

All the States which have pronounced an anathema 
against books and alphabets, have likewise forbidden 
that any colored man shall be employed in a printing 
office, under the penalty of ten dollars for every offence. 

In Mississippi, any white who employs, or receives a 
free colored person, without a certificate of freedom, 
written on parchment, forfeits one thousand dollars. 

If any master, in that State, allows his slaves to sell 
any wares or merchandise out of the incorporated towns, 
he is liable to a fine of from fifty to five hundred dollars. 

In Virginia, any person who buys of a slave any arti- 
cle belonging to his master, forfeits from ten to fifty dol- 
lars ; if the purchase be made on Sunday, ten dollars 
more are added to the fine for each article. 

This enactment is evidently made to prevent a slave 
from obtaining any money, or holding communication 
with freemen ; a particular proviso is made against Sun- 
day, because the slave has usually more leisure on that 
day. It is to be remembered that all a slave has belongs 
to his master. 



To carry a slave out of North Carolina, or conceal 
him with intent to carry him out, is punished with 

If a runaway slave die in prison, before he or she can 
be sold, the county pays the sheriff and jailer ; formerly 
these officers depended on the life and marketableness 
of their prisoners for security ; but even this poor motive 
for kindness is now taken away. If ninetynine out of a 
hundred die in prison, they will be heard of only in the 
jailer's bill, I never heard or read of an inquest upon 
the body of a slave found dead. Under the term " run- 
away slaves" are included many free colored persons 
taken up unjustly. 

Well might Jefferson say, " I tremble for my country, 
when I reflect that God is just !" 

In travelling over this dreary desert, it is pleasant to 
arrive at one little oasis : Louisiana has enacted that 
slaves brought into that State for sale, shall forthwith be 
set free ; but they must be sent out of the State. 

It is worthy of remark that England pursues a totally 
different course with regard to allowing slaves to com- 
municate with free people. Their recent laws are all 
calculated to make it easy for the slave to obtain a fair 
hearing from people who have no interest to suppress his 
complaints. He may go upon any plantation, and com- 
municate with any person ; and whoever tries to prevent 
his going to a magistrate is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

They have abolished all distinction between white and 
colored witnesses. 

The law expressly stipulates the quality and quantity 
of provisions. 

Inquest is held upon the bodies of slaves dying sud- 
denly, or from any suspected violence. 

Use of the cart whip prohibited ; and no female to be 
punished except by order of the court. 

Only fifteen lashes allowed as a punishment to men 
for one offence, and in one day ; two kinds of punish- 
ment never allowed for one offence. 

When a slave is punished, two competent witnesses 
must be present. 

The owner is obliged to keep a record of domestic 
punishments and the causes. 


Marriages among slaves are encouraged, and husband 
and wife are not allowed to be sold separately. Children 
under sixteen years old cannot be separated from their 

Masters illegally punishing their slaves, are subject to 
fine, imprisonment, and loss of the slave, for the first 
offence ; for the second offence, sequestration of all their 

Free colored representatives are allowed to take their 
seat in the legislature, and share all the other privileges of 
British subjects. 

Yet these humane laws, so carefully framed in favor of 
the defenceless, have been found insufficient to protect 
the slave. Experience proves, what reason clearly points 
out, that the force of good laws must be weakened by the 
very nature of this unholy relation. Where there is 
knowledge and freedom on one side, and ignorance and 
servitude on the other, evasions and subterfuges will of 
course be frequent. Hence English philanthropists have 
universally come to the conclusion that nothing effectual 
can be done, unless slavery itself be destroyed. 

The limits of this w T ork compel me to pass by many 
enactments in our slave-holding States, which would 
throw still more light on this dark subject. 

I have laid open some of the laws which do actually 
exist, and are constantly enforced in this free country ; 
and knowing all this, and still more, to be true, I blush 
and hang my head, whenever I hear any one boast of our 
u glorious institutions." 

The slave-holders insist that their humanity is so 
great, as to render all their ferocious laws perfectly 
harmless. Are the laws then made on purpose to urge 
tender-hearted masters to be so much worse than they 
really desire to be ? The democrats of the South appear 
to be less scrupulous about the liberties of others, than 
the Autocrat of the Russias ; — for, when Madame de 
Stael told the Emperor Alexander that his character 
answered instead of a constitution for his country, he 
replied, " Then, madam, I am but a lucky accident" 
How much more emphatically may it be said, that the 
slave's destiny is a matter of chance ! Reader, would 



you trust the very best man you know, with your tinle, 
your interests, your family, and your life, unless the con- 
tract were guarded on every side by the strong arm of 
the law ? If a money-loving neighbor could force you to 
toil, and could gain a certain number of dollars for every 
hour of your labor, how much rest should you expect to 
have ? 

It is utter nonsense to say that generosity of disposi- 
tion is a protection against tyranny, where all the power 
is on one side. It may be, and it no doubt is so, in 
particular instances ; but they must be exceptions to the 
general rule. 

We all know that the Southerners have a high sense of 
what the world calls honor, and that they are brave, hos- 
pitable, and generous to people of their own color ; but 
the more we respect their virtues, the more cause is 
there to lament the demoralizing system, which produces 
such unhappy effects on all who come within its baneful 
influence. Most of them may be as kind as can be ex- 
pected of human nature, endowed with almost unlimited 
power to do wrong ; and some of them may be even 
more benevolent than the warmest friend of the negro 
would dare to hope ; but while we admit all this, we 
must not forget that there is in every community a class 
of men, who will not be any better than the laws compel 
them to be. 

Captain Riley, in his Narrative, says : " Strange as it 
may seem to the philanthropist, my free and proud spirit- 
ed countrymen still hold a million and a halP of human 
beings in the most cruel bonds of slavery ; who are kept 
at hard labor, and smarting under the lash of inhuman, 
mercenary drivers ; in many instances enduring the mis- 
eries of hunger, thirst, imprisonment, cold, nakedness, 
and even tortures. This is no picture of the imagina- 
tion. For the honor of human nature, I wish likenesses 
were nowhere to be found ! I myself have witnessed such 
scenes in different parts of my own country ; and the 
bare recollection of them now chills my blood with hor- 


* There are now over two millions. 


When the slave owners talk of their gentleness and 
compassion, they are witnesses in their own favor, and 
have strong motives for showing the fairest side. But 
what do the laws themselves imply ? Are enactments 
ever made against exigencies which do not exist? If 
negroes have never been scalded, burned, mutilated, <fcc. 
why are such crimes forbidden by an express law, with 
the marvellous proviso, except said slave die of " moderate 
punishment" ? If a law sanctioning whipping to any 
extent, incarceration at the discretion of the master, and 
the body loaded with irons, is called a restraining law T , 
let me ask what crimes must have been committed, to 
require prohibition, where so much is allowed ? The 
law, which declares that slaves shall be compelled to 
labor only fourteen or fifteen hours a day, has the follow- 
ing preamble : " Whereas many owners of slaves, man- 
agers, &c. do confine them so closely to hard labor that 
they have not sufficient time for natural rest," &>c. Mr 
Pinckney, in a public argument, speaking of slaves mur- 
dered by severe treatment, says : " The frequency of the 
crime is no doubt owing to the nature of the punishment.' 5 
The reader will observe that I carefully refrain from 
quoting the representations of party spirit, and refer to 
facts only for evidence. 

Where the laws are made by the people, a majority of 
course approve them ; else they would soon be changed. 
It must therefore in candor be admitted, that the laws 
of a State speak the prevailing sentiments of the inhabi- 

Judging by this rule, what inference must be drawn 
from the facts stated above 1 " At Sparta, the freeman 
is the freest of all men, and the slave is the greatest of 

Our republic is a perfect Pandora's box to the negro, 
only there is no hope at the bottom. The wretchedness 
of his fate is not a little increased by being a constant 
witness of the unbounded freedom enjoyed by others : 
the slave's labor must necessarily be like the labor of 
Sisiphus ; and here the torments of Tantalus are added. 

Slavery is so inconsistent with free institutions, and 
the spirit of liberty is so contagious under such institu- 


tions, that the system must either be given up, or sus- 
tained by laws outrageously severe ; hence we find that 
our slave laws have each year been growing more harsh 
than those of any other nation. 

Shall I be told that all these regulations are necessary 
for the white man's safety ? What then, let me indig- 
nantly ask, what must the system be that requires to be 
supported by such unnatural, such tyrannical means ! The 
very apology pronounces the condemnation of slavery — 
for it proves that it cannot exist without producing 
boundless misery to the oppressed, and perpetual terror 
to the oppressor. 

In our fourth of July orations, we are much in the 
habit of talking about the tyranny of England ! and there 
is no doubt that broad and deep stains do rest upon her 
history. But there is a vulgar proverb that " those who 
live in glass houses should not throw stones." In judg- 
ing of national, as well as individual wrong, it is fair to 
consider the amount of temptation. England has had 
power, more extensive and permanent than any nation 
since the decline of Rome : the negroes and the Indians 
are the only people who have been dependent on our jus- 
tice and generosity — and how have we treated them ? 

It is a favorite argument that we are not to blame for 
slavery, because the British engrafted it upon us, while 
we were colonies. But did we not take the liberty to 
change English laws and customs, when they did not 
suit us? Why not put away this, as well as other evils of 
much less consequence ? It could have been done easily, 
at the time of our confederation ; it can be done now. — 
Have not other nations been making alterations for the 
better, on this very subject, since we became indepen- 
dent '? Is not England trying with all her might to atone 
for the wrong she has done? Does not the constitution of 
the United States, and the constitution of each individual 
State, make provision for such changes as shall tend to 
the public good ? 

The plain truth is, the continuation of this system is a 
sin ; and the sin rests upon us : It has been eloquently 
said that " by this excuse, we try to throw the blame upon 
our ancestors, and leave repentance to posterity." 




Wo imtoliim that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him 
not for his work. — Jeremiah, xxii. 13. 

Who can reflect, unmoved, upon the round 
Of smooth and solemnized complacencies, 
By which, on Christian lands, from age to age, 
Profession mocks performance. Earth is sick, 
And Heaven is weary, of the hollow words, 
Which states and kingdoms utter when they talk 
Of truth and justice. 


Political economists found their systems on those 
broad and general principles, the application of which 
has been proved by reason and experience to produce 
the greatest possible happiness to the greatest number of 
people. All writers of this class, I believe without ex- 
ception, prefer free labor to slave labor. 

Indeed a very brief glance will show that slavery is in- 
consistent with economy, whether domestic, or political. 

The slave is bought, sometimes at a very high price ; 
in free labor there is no such investment of capital. — 
When the slave is ill, a physician must be paid by the 
owner ; the free laborer defrays his own expenses. The 
children of the slave must be supported by his master ; 
the free man maintains his own. The slave is to be 
taken care of in his old age, which his previous habits 
render peculiarly helpless ; the free laborer is hired 
when he is wanted, and then returns to his home. The 
slave does not care how slowly or carelessly he works ; 
it is the free man's interest to do his business well and 
quickly. The slave is indifferent how many tools he 
spoils ; the free man has a motive to be careful. The 
slave's clothing is indeed very cheap, but it is of no con- 



sequence to him how fast it is destroyed — his master 
must keep him covered, and that is all he is likely to do ; 
the hired laborer pays more for his garments, but makes 
them last three times as long. The free man will be 
honest for reputation's sake ; but reputation will make 
the slave none the richer, nor invest him with any of the 
privileges of a human being — while his poverty and 
sense of wrong both urge him to steal from his master. 
A salary must be paid to an overseer to compel the slave 
to work ; the free man is impelled by the desire of in- 
creasing the comforts of himself and family. Two hired 
laborers will perform as much work as three slaves ; by 
some it is supposed to be a more correct estimate that 
slaves perform only half as much labor as the same num- 
ber of free laborers. Finally, where slaves are employed, 
manual industry is a degradation to white people, and 
indolence becomes the prevailing characteristic. 

Slave owners have indeed frequently shown great 
adroitness in defending this bad system ; but, with few 
exceptions, they base their arguments upon the necessity 
of continuing slavery because it is already begun. Many 
of them have openly acknowledged that it was highly 
injurious to the prosperity of the State. 

The Hon. Henry Clay, in his address before the Coloni- 
zation Society of Kentucky, has given a view of the causes 
affecting, and likely to affect, slavery in this country, 
which is very remarkable for its completeness, its dis- 
tinctness, and its brevity. The following sentences are 
quoted from this address : "Asa mere laborer, the slave 
feels that he toils for his master, and not for himself; 
Vhat the laws do not recognise his capacity to acquire 
and hold property, which depends altogether upon the 
pleasure of his proprietor, and that all the fruits of his ex- 
ertions are reaped by others. He knows that, whether 
sick or well, in times of scarcity or abundance, his master 
is bound to provide for him by the all powerful influence 
of self-interest. He is generally, therefore, indifferent to 
the adverse or prosperous fortunes of his master, being 
contented if he can escape his displeasure or chastisement, 
by a careless and slovenly performance of his duties. 

" This is the state of the relation between master and 


slave, prescribed by the law of its nature, and founded 
in the reason of things. There are undoubtedly many 
exceptions, in which the slave dedicates himself to his 
master with a zealous and generous devotion, and the 
master to the slave with a parental and affectionate at- 
tachment. But it is my purpose to speak of the general 
state of this unfortunate relation. 

" That labor is best, in which the laborer knows that 
he will derive the profits of his industry, that his employ- 
ment depends upon his diligence, and his reward upon 
this assiduity. He then has every motive to excite him 
to exertion, and to animate him in perseverance. He 
knows that if he is treated badly he can exchange his 
employer, for one who will better estimate his service ; and 
that whatever he earns is his, to be distributed by him- 
self as he pleases, among his wife, and children, and 
friends, or enjoyed by himself. In a word, he feels that 
he is a free agent, with rights, and privileges, and sensi- 

" Wherever the option exists to employ, at an equal 
hire, free or slave labor, the former will be decidedly pre- 
ferred, for the reasons already assigned. It is more 
capable, more diligent, more faithful, and in every respect 
more worthy of confidence. 

" It is believed that nowhere in the farming portion of 
the United States would slave labor be generally employ- 
ed, if the proprietor were not tempted to raise slaves by 
the high price of the Southern market, which keeps it 
up in his own." 

Speaking of an attempt more than thirtyfive years ago, 
to adopt gradual emancipation in Kentucky, Mr Clay 
says : " We were overpowered by numbers, and sub- 
mitted to the decision of the majority, with the grace 
which the minority, in a republic, should ever yield to 
such a decision. I have nevertheless never ceased, and 
never shall cease, to regret a decision, the effects of 
which have been, to place us in the rear of our neighbors, 
who are exempt from slavery, in the state of agriculture, 
the progress of manufactures, the advance of improve- 
ment, and the general prosperity of society." 

Mr Appleton, in his reply to Mr McDuffie in the win- 


ter of 1 832, — a speech distinguished for its good temper 
and sound practical sense, — says : " I do not think 
the gentleman from South Carolina has overrated the 
money price of New England labor at fifty cents ; but 
most of the labor is performed by the owners of the soil. 
It is great industry alone, which makes New England 
prosperous. The circumstance that with this cheap 
slave labor, the South is complaining of suffering, while 
the North is content and prosperous with dear free labor, 
is a striking fact and deserves a careful and thorough 
examination. The experience of all ages and nations 
proves that high wages are the most powerful stimulus 
to exertion, and the best means of attaching the people 
to the institutions under which they live. It is apparent 
that this political effect upon the character of society 
cannot have any action upon slaves. Having no choice 
or volition, there is nothing for stimulus to act upon ; 
they are in fact no part of society. So that, in the lan- 
guage of political economy, they are, like machinery, 
merely capital ; and the productions of their labor consist 
wholly of profits of capital. But it is not perceived how 
the tariff can lessen the value of the productions of their 
labor, in comparison with that of the other States. New 
York and Virginia both produce wheat ; New York with 
dear labor is content., and Virginia with cheap labor is 

" What is the occupation of the white population of the 
planting States ? I am at a loss to know how this pop- 
ulation is employed. We hear of no products of these 
States, but those produced by slave labor. It is clear the 
white population cannot be employed in raising cotton or 
tobacco, because in doing so they can earn but twelve and 
a half cents per day, since the same quantity of labor per- 
formed bv a slave is worth no more. I am told also that the 
wages of overseers, mechanics, &c. are higher than the 
white labor of the North ; and it is well known that 
many mechanics go from the North to the South, to get 
employment during the winter. These facts suggest the 
inquiry whether this cheap slave labor does not paralyze 
the industry of the whites ? Whether idleness is not the 
greatest of their evils?" 


During the famous debate in the Virginia Legislature,, 
in the winter of 1832, Mr Brodnax made the following 
remark : " That slavery in Virginia is an evil, and a 
transcendent evil, it would be more than idle for any 
human being to doubt or deny. It is a mildew which 
has blighted every region it has touched, from the crea- 
tion of the world. Illustrations from the history of other 
countries and other times might be instructive and profit-* 
able, had we the time to review them; but we have 
evidence tending to the same conviction nearer at hand 
and accessible to daily observation, in the short histories 
of the different States of this great confederacy, which 
are impressive in their admonitions and conclusive in 
their character. " 

During the same session, Mr Faulkner of Virginia, 
said : " Sir, I am gratified to perceive that no gentleman 
has yet risen in this Hall, the avowed advocate of slavery* 
The day has gone by, when such a voice could be listen- 
ed to with patience, or even forbearance. I even regret, 
sir, that we should find one amongst us, who enters the 
lists as its apologist, except on the ground of uncontfol* 
able necessity. If there be one, who concurs with the 
gentleman from Brunswick (Mr Gholson) in the harm- 
less character of this institution, let me request him to 
compare the condition of the slave holding portion of 
this Commonwealth — barren, desolate, and seared as it 
were by the avenging hand of Heaven, with the descrip- 
tions which we have of this same country from those who 
first broke its virgin soil. To what is this change ascrib« 
able ? Alone to the withering and blasting effects of 
slavery. If this does not satisfy him, let me request him 
to extend his travels to the Northern States of this Union, 
— and beg him to contrast the happiness and content- 
ment which prevails throughout the country — the busy 
and cheerful sound of industry — the rapid and swelling 
growth of their population — their means and institutions 
of education — their skill and proficiency in the useful 
arts — their enterprise, and public spirit — the monu- 
ments of their commercial and manufacturing industry ; 
and, above all, their devoted attachment to the govern- 
ment from which they derive their protection^ with the 


division, discontent, indolence, and poverty of the South- 
ern country. To what, sir, is all this ascribable ? To 
that vice in the organization of society, by which one half 
of its inhabitants are arrayed in interest and feeling 
against the other half — to that unfortunate state of soci- 
ety in which freemen regard labor as disgraceful — and 
slaves shrink from it as a burden tyrannically imposed 
upon them — to that condition of things, in which half a 
million of your population can feel no sympathy with the 
society in the prosperity of which they are forbidden to 
participate, and no attachment to a government at whose 
hands they receive nothing but injustice. 

" If this should not be sufficient, and the curious and 
incredulous inquirer should suggest that the contrast 
which has been adverted to, and is so manifest, might be 
traced to a difference of climate, or other causes distinct 
from slavery itself, permit me to refer him to the two 
states of Kentucky and Ohio — no difference of soil — 
no diversity of climate — no diversity in the original 
settlement of those two States, can account for the re- 
markable disproportion in their national advancement. — 
Separated by a river alone, they seem to have been pur- 
posely and providentially designed to exhibit in their 
future histories the difference, which necessarily results 
from a country free from, and a country afflicted with, 
the curse of slavery. The same may be said of the two 
states of Missouri and Illinois. 

f( Slavery, it is admitted, is an evil — it is an institution 
which presses heavily against the best interests of the 
State. It banishes free white labor — it exterminates 
the mechanic — the artisan — the manufacturer. It de- 
prives them of occupation. It deprives them of bread. It 
converts the energy of a community into indolence — its 
power into imbecility — *- its efficiency into weakness. Sir, 
being thus injurious, have we not a right to demand its 
extermination ! Shall society suffer, that the slave hold- 
er may continue to gather his vigintial crop of human 
flesh? What is his mere pecuniary claim, compared 
with the great interests of the common weal 1 Must the 
country languish and die, that the slave holder may flour- 
ish ? Shall all interests be subservient to one ? — all 


rights subordinate to those of the slave holder ? Has not 
the mechanic — have not the middle classes their rights ? 
— rights incompatible with the existence of slavery V 

SutclifF, in his Travels in North America, says : " A 
person not conversant with these things would naturally 
think that where families employ a number of slaves, 
everything about their houses, gardens^ and plantations, 
would be kept in the best order. But the reverse of this 
is generally the case. I was sometimes tempted to think 
that the more slaves there were employed, the more dis- 
order appeared. I am persuaded that one or two hired 
servants, in a well regulated family, would preserve more 
neatness, order, and comfort, than treble the number of 

" There is a very striking contrast between the appear- 
ance of the horses or teams in Pennsylvania, and those 
in the Southern States, where slaves are kept. In Penn- 
sylvania we met with great numbers of wagons, drawn 
by four or more fine fat horses, the carriages firm and 
well made, and covered with stout good linen, bleached 
almost white : and it is not uncommon to see ten or fif- 
teen together, travelling cheerfully along the road, the 
driver riding on one of his horses. Many of these come 
more than three hundred miles to Philadelphia, from the 
Ohio, Pittsburg, and other places ; and I have been told 
by a respectable friend, a native of Philadelphia, that 
more than one thousand covered carriages frequently 
come to Philadelphia market." 

" The appearance of things in the slave States is quite 
the reverse of this. We sometimes meet a ragged black 
boy or girl driving a team, consisting of a lean cow or a 
mule, sometimes a lean bull, or an ox and a mule ; and 
I have seen a mule, a bull, and a cow, each miserable in 
its appearance, composing one team, with a half naked 
black slave or two, riding or driving, as occasion suited. 
The carriage or wagon, if it may be called such, appear- 
ed in as wretched a condition as the team and its driver. 
Sometimes a couple of horses, mules, or cows, &c. would 
be dragging a hogshead of tobacco, with a pivot, or axle, 
driven into each end of the hogshead, and something like 
a shaft attached, by which it was drawn, or rolled along 


the road. I have seen two oxen and two slaves pretty 
fully employed in getting along a single hogshead ; and 
some of these come from a great distance inland." 

The inhabitants of free States are often told that they 
cannot argue fairly upon the subject of slavery because 
they know nothing about its actual operation ; and any 
expression of their opinions and feelings with regard to 
the system, is attributed to ignorant enthusiasm, fanati- 
cal benevolence, or a wicked intention to do mischief. 

But Mr Clay, Mr Brodnax, and Mr Faulkner, belong 
to slave holding States ; and the two former, if I mistake 
not, are slave owners. They surely are qualified to 
judge of the system ; and I might fill ten pages with 
other quotations from Southern writers and speakers, 
who acknowledge that slavery is a great evil. There 
are zealous partisans indeed, who defend the system 
strenuously, and some of them very eloquently. Thus, 
Mr Hayne, in his reply to Mr Webster, denied that the 
South suffered in consequence of slavery ; he maintained 
that the slave holding States were prosperous, and the 
principal cause of ail the prosperity in the Union. He 
laughed at the idea of any danger, however distant, from 
an overgrown slave population, and supported the posi- 
tion by the fact that slaves had always been kept in 
entire subjection in the British West Indies, where the 
white population is less than ten per cent of the whole. 
But the distinguished gentleman from South Carolina did 
not mention that the peace establishment of the British 
West Indies costs England two million pounds annually ! 
Yet such is the fact. This system is so closely entwined 
with the apparent interests and convenience of individu- 
als, that it will never want for able defenders, so long as 
it exists. But I believe I do not misrepresent the truth, 
when I say the prevailing opinion at the South is, that it 
would have been much better for those States, and for 
the country in general, if slavery had never been intro- 

Miss Martineau, in her most admirable little book on 
Demerara, says : " Labor is the product of mind as 
much as of body ; and to secure that product, we must 
sway the mind by the natural means — by motives. La- 


boring against self-interest is what nobody ought to ex- 
pect of white men — much less of slaves. Of course 
every man, woman and child, would rather play for 
nothing than work for nothing. 

" It is the mind, which gives sight to the eye, and 
hearing to the ear, and strength to the limbs ; and the 
mind cannot be purchased. Where a man is allowed 
the possession of himself, the purchaser of his labor is 
benefited by the vigor of his mind through the service of 
his limbs : where man is made the possession of another, 
the possessor loses at once and forever all that is most 
valuable in that for which he has paid the price of crime. 
He becomes the owner of that which only differs from 
an idiot in being less easily drilled into habits, and 
more capable of effectual revenge. 

** Cattle are fixed capital, and so are slaves : But 
slaves differ from cattle on the one hand, in yielding 
(from internal opposition) a less return for their mainte- 
nance ; and from free laborers on the other hand, in not 
being acted upon by the inducements which stimulate 
production as an effort of mind as well as body. In all 
three cases the labor is purchased. In free laborers and 
cattle, all the faculties work together, and to advantage ; 
in the slave they are opposed ; and therefore he is, so far 
as the amount of labor is concerned, the least valuable of 
the three. The negroes can invent and improve- — wit- 
ness their ingenuity in their dwellings, and their skill in 
certain of their sports ; but their masters will never pos- 
sess their faculties, though they have purchased their 
limbs. Our true policy would be to divide the work of 
the slave between the ox and the hired laborer ; we 
should get more out of the sinews of the one and the soul 
of the other, than the produce of double the number of 

Asa matter of humanity, let it be remembered that men 
having more reason than brutes, must be treated with 
much greater severity, in order to keep them in a state 
of abject submission. 

It seems unnecessary to say that what is unjust and 
unmerciful, can never be expedient ; yet men often write, 
talk, and act, as if they either forgot this truth, or doubt- 



ed it. There is genuine wisdom in the following remark, 
extracted from the petition of Cambridge University to 
the Parliament of England, on the subject of slavery : " A 
firm belief in the Providence of a benevolent Creator as- 
sures us that no system, founded on the oppression of 
one part of mankind, can be beneficial to another." 

But the tolerator of slavery will say, " No doubt the 
system is an evil ; but we are not to blame for it ; we re- 
ceived it from our English ancestors. It is a lamentable 
necessity ; — we cannot do it away if we would ; — insur- 
rections would be the inevitable result of any attempt to 
remove it" — and having quieted their consciences by 
the use of the word lamentable, they think no more upon 
the subject. 

These assertions have been so often, and so dogmati- 
cally repeated, that many truly kind-hearted people have 
believed there was some truth in them. I myself, (may 
God forgive me for it!) have often, in thoughtless igno- 
rance, made the same remarks. 

An impartial and careful examination has led me to 
the conviction that slavery causes insurrections, while 
emancipation prevents them. 

The grand argument of the slave holder is that sudden 
freedom occasioned the horrible massacres of St Domin- 
go. — If a word is said in favor of abolition, he shakes 
his head, and points a warning finger to St Domingo ! 
But it is a remarkable fact that this same vilified island 
furnishes a strong argument against the lamentable ne- 
cessity of slavery. In the first place, there was a bloody 
civil war there before the act of emancipation was passed ; 
in the second place enfranchisement produced the most 
blessed effects ; in the third place, no difficulties whatev- 
er arose, until Bonaparte made his atrocious attempt to 
restore slavery in the island. 

Colonel Malenfant, a slave proprietor, resident in St 
Domingo at the time, thus describes the effect of sudden 
enfranchisement, in his Historical and Political Memoir 
of the Colonies : 

"After this public act of emancipation, the negroes re- 
mained quiet both in the south and in the west, and they 
continued to work upon all the plantations. There were 


estates which had neither owners nor managers resident 
upon them, yet upon these estates, though abandoned, 
the negroes continued their labors where there were any, 
even inferior agents, to guide them ; and on those estates 
where no white men where left to direct them, they be- 
took themselves to the planting of provisions ; but upon 
all the plantations where the whites resided, the blacks 
continued to labor as quietly as before." Colonel Ma- 
lenfant says, that when many of his neighbors, proprie- 
tors or managers, were in prison, the negroes of their 
plantations came to him to beg him to direct them in 
their work. 

He adds, "If you will take care not to talk to them 
of the restoration of slavery, but to talk to them of free- 
dom, you may with this word chain them down to their 
labor. How did Toussaint succeed 1 — How did I suc- 
ceed before his time in the plain of the Culde-Sae on the 
plantation Gouraud, during more than eight months after 
liberty had been granted to the slaves ? Let those who 
knew me at that time, let the blacks themselves, be asked : 
they will all reply that not a single negro upon that plan- 
tation, consisting of more than four hundred and fifty 
laborers, refused to work : and yet this plantation was 
thought to be under the worst discipline and the slaves 
the most idle of any in the plain. I inspired the same 
activity into three other plantations of which I had the 
management. If all the negroes had come from Africa 
within six months, if they had the love of independence 
that the Indians have, I should own that force must be 
employed ; but ninetynine out of a hundred of the blacks 
are aware that without labor they cannot procure the 
things that are necessary for them ; that there is no other 
method of satisfying their wants and their tastes. They 
know that they must work, they wish to do so, and they 
will do so." 

Such was the conduct of the negroes for the first nine 
months after their liberation, or up to the middle of 1794. 
In the latter part of J796, Malenfant says, " the colony 
was flourishing under Toussaint, the whites lived happily 
and in peace upon their estates, and the negroes con- 


tinued to work for them." General Lecroix who pub- 
lished his " Memoirs for a History of St Domingo" in 
1819, says, that in 1797 the most wonderful progress had 
been made in agriculture. " The Colony," says he, 
" marched as by enchantment towards its ancient splen- 
dor : cultivation prospered ; every day produced percep- 
tible proof of its progress." General Vincent,* who was 
a general of brigade of artillery in St Domingo and a 
proprietor of estates in the island, was sent by Toussaint 
to Paris in 1801 to lay before the Directory the new con- 
stitution which had been agreed upon in St Domingo. 
He arrived in France just at the moment of the peace of 
Amiens, and found that Bonaparte was preparing an ar- 
mament for the purpose of restoring slavery in St Do- 
mingo. He remonstrated against the expedition ; he 
stated that it was totally unnecessary and therefore 
criminal, for everything was going on well in St Do- 
mingo. The proprietors were in peaceable possession 
of their estates ; cultivation was making rapid progress; 
the blacks were industrious and beyond example happy. 
He conjured him, therefore, not to reverse this beautiful 
state of things ; but his efforts were ineffectual, and the 
expedition arrived upon the shores of St Domingo. At 
length, however the French were driven from the island. 
Till that time the planters had retained their property, 
and then it was, and not till then, that thevlost their all. 
In 1804, Dessalines was proclaimed Emperor ; in process 
of time a great part of the black troops were disbanded, 
and returned to cultivation again. From that time to 
this, there has been no want of subordination or industry 
among them." 

The following account of Hayti at a later period is 
quoted from Mr Harvey's sketches of that island, during 
the latter part of the reign of Christophe : 

" Those who by their exertions and economy were 
enabled to procure small spots of land of their own or to 
hold the smaller plantations at an annual rent, were dil- 
igently engaged in cultivating coffee, sugar, and other 
articles, which they disposed of to the inhabitants of the 

* CJarkson's Thoughts, p. 2. 


adjacent towns and villages. It was an interesting sight 
to behold this class of the Haytians, now in possession of 
their freedom, coming in groups to the market nearest 
which they resided, bringing the produce of their indus- 
try for sale ; and afterwards returning, carrying back the 
necessary articles of living which the disposal of their 
commodities had enabled them to purchase ; all evidently 
cheerful and happy. Nor could it fail to occur to the 
mind that their present condition furnished the most 
satisfactory answer to that objection to the general eman- 
cipation of slaves, founded on their alleged unfitness to 
value and improve the benefits of liberty. 

" Though of the same race and possessing the same 
general traits of character as the negroes of the other 
West India islands, they are already distinguished from 
them by habits of industry and activity, such as slaves 
are seldom known to exhibit. As they would not suffer, 
so they do not require, the attendance of one acting in 
the capacity of a driver with the instrument of punish- 
ment in his hand." 

" In Guadaloupe, the conduct of the freed negroes was 
equally satisfactory. The perfect subordination which 
was established and the industry which prevailed there, 
are proved by the official Reports of the Governor of 
Guadaloupe, to the French government. In 1793 liber- 
ty was proclaimed universally to the slaves in that island, 
and during their ten years of freedom, their governors 
bore testimony to their regular industry and uninterrupt- 
ed submission to the laws." 

" During the first American war, a number of slaves 
ran away from their North American masters and joined 
the British army. When peace came, it was determined 
to gite them their liberty, and to settle them in Nova 
Scotia, upon grants of land, as British subjects and as 
free men. Their number, comprehending men, women 
and children, was two thousand and upwards. Some 
of them worked upon little portions of land as their 
own ; others worked as carpenters ; others became fish- 
ermen ; and others worked for hire in various ways. In 
time, having embraced Christianity, they raised places 
of worship of their own, and had ministers of their own 



from their own body. They led a harmless life, and 
gained the character of an industrious and honest people 
from their white neighbors. A few years afterwards, 
the land in Nova Scotia being found too poor to answer, 
and the climate too cold for their constitutions, a number 
of them, to the amount of between thirteen and four- 
teen hundred, volunteered to form a new colony which 
was then first thought of at Sierra Leone, to which place 
they were accordingly conveyed. Many hundreds of the 
negroes who had formed the West Indian black regi- 
ments were removed in 1819 to Sierra Leone, where 
they were set at liberty at once, and founded the villages 
of Waterloo, Hastings and others. Several hundred ma- 
roons (runaway slaves and their descendants,) being 
exiled from Jamaica, were removed in 1801 to Sierra 
Leone, where they were landed with no other property 
than the clothes which they wore and the muskets which 
they carried in their hands. A body of revolted slaves 
were banished from Barbadoes in 1816, and sent also to 
Sierra Leone. The rest of the population of this colony 
consists almost entirely of negroes who have been recap- 
tured from slave ships, and brought to Sierra Leone in 
the lowest state of misery, debility and degradation : 
naked, diseased, destitute, wholly ignorant of the English 
language, in this wretched, helpless condition they have 
been suddenly made free, and put into possession at once 
of the rights and privileges of British subjects. All these 
instances of sudden emancipation have taken place in a 
colony where the disproportion between black and white 
is more than a hundred to one. Yet this mixed popula- 
tion of suddenly emancipated slaves — runaway slaves — 
criminal slaves — and degraded recaptured negroes, are 
in their free condition living in order, tranquillity and 
comfort, and many of them in affluence." 

" During the last American war, 774 slaves escaped 
from their masters, and were at the termination of the 
war settled in Trinidad as free laborers, where they are 
earning their own livelihood with industry and good con- 
duct. The following extract of a letter, received in 
1829 from Trinidad by Mr Pownall, will show the use- 
fulness and respectability of these liberated negroes. ' A 


field negro brings four hundred dollars, but most of the 
work is done by free blacks and people from the main at 
a much cheaper rate ; and as these are generally em- 
ployed by foreigners, this accounts for their succeeding 
better than our own countrymen, who are principally 
from the old islands, and are unaccustomed to any other 
management than that of slaves ; however, they are 
coming into it fast. In Trinidad, there are upwards of 
fifteen thousand free people of color ; there is not a single 
pauper amongst them ; they live independently and com- 
fortably, and nearly half of the property of the island is 
said to be in their hands. It is admitted that they are 
highly respectable in character, and are rapidly advanc- 
ing in knowledge and refinement. 5 Mr Mitchell, a sugar 
planter who had resided twentyseven years in Trinidad, 
and who is the superintendent of the liberated negroes 
there, says he knows of no instance of a manumitted 
slave not maintaining himself. In a paper printed by 
the House of Commons in 1827, (No. 479,) he says of 
the liberated blacks under his superintendence, that each 
of them possessed an allotment of land which he cultiva- 
ted, and on which he raised provisions and other articles 
for himself and his family ; his wife and children aiding 
him in the work. A great part, however, of the time of 
the men (the women attending to the domestic menage) 
was freely given to laboring on the neighboring planta- 
tions, on which they worked not in general by the day, 
but by the piece. Mr Mitchell says that their work is 
well executed, and that they can earn as much as four 
shillings a day. If, then, these men who have land on 
which they can support themselves are yet willing to work 
for hire, how is it possible to doubt that in case of general 
emancipation, the freed negroes who would have no land 
of their own would gladly work for wages V' 

■ A few years ago, about 150 negro slaves, at different 
times, succeeded in making their escape from Kentucky 
into Canada. Captain Stuart, who lived in Upper Cana- 
da from 1817 to 1822, was generally acquainted with 
them, and employed several of them in various ways. — 
He found them as good and as trustworthy laborers, in 
every respect, as any emigrants from the islands, or from 


the United States, or as the natives of the country. In 
1828, he again visited that country, and found that their 
numbers had increased by new refugees to about three 
hundred. They had purchased a tract of woodland, a 
few miles from Amherstburgh, and were settled on it, 
had formed a little village, had a minister of their own 
number, color, and choice, a good old man of some talent, 
with whom Captain Stuart was well acquainted, and 
though poor, were living soberly, honestly and industri- 
ously, and were peacefully and usefully getting their own 
living. — In consequence of the Revolution in Colombia, 
all the slaves who joined the Colombian armies, amount- 
ing to a considerable number, were declared free. — 
General Bolivar enfranchised his own slaves to the 
amount of between seven and eight hundred, and many 
proprietors followed his example. At that time Colom- 
bia was overrun by hostile armies, and the masters were 
often obliged to abandon their property. The black pop- 
ulation (including Indians) amounted to nine hundred 
thousand persons. Of these, a large number was sud- 
denly emancipated, and what has been the effect? — 
Where the opportunities of insurrection have been so 
frequent, and so tempting, what has been the effect ? M. 
Ravenga declares that the effect has been a degree of 
docility on the part of the blacks, and a degree of securi- 
ty on the part of the whites, unknown in any preceding 
period of the history of Colombia." 

" Dr Walsh* states that in Brazil there are six hundred 
thousand enfranchised persons, either Africans or of 
African descent, who were either slaves themselves or 
are the descendants of slaves. He says they are, gener^ 
ally speaking, ( well conducted and industrious persons, 
who compose indiscriminately different orders of the com- 
munity. There are among them merchants, farmers, 
doctors, lawyers, priests and officers of different ranks. 
Every considerable town in the interior has regiments 
composed of them.' The benefits arising from them, he 
adds, have disposed the whites to think of making free 
the whole negro population. " 

* Walsh's Notes on Brazil, vol. ii, page 365^ 


" Mr Koster, an Englishman living in Brazil, confirms 
Mr Walsh's statement.* ' There are black regiments/ 
he observes, ' composed entirely and exclusively of black 
Creole soldiers, commanded by black Creole officers from 
the corporal to the colonel. I have seen the several 
guard houses of the town occupied by these troops. Far 
from any apprehension being entertained on this score, it 
is well known that the quietude of this country, and the 
feeling of safety which every one possesses, although sur- 
rounded by slaves, proceed from the contentedness of the 
free people/ " 

"The actual condition of the hundred thousand eman- 
cipated blacks and persons of color in the British West 
India Colonies, certainly gives no reason to apprehend 
that if a general emancipation should take place, the 
newly freed slaves would not be able and willing to 
support themselves. On this point the Returns from 
fourteen of the Slave Colonies, laid before the House of 
Commons, in 1826, give satisfactory information : they 
include a period of five years from January 1, 1821, to 
December 31, 1825, and give the following account of 
the state of pauperism in each of these colonies. 

" JBahamas. — The only establishment in the colony 
for the relief of the poor, appears to be a hospital or poor 
house. The number passing through the hospital annu- 
ally was, on the average, fifteen free black and colored 
persons and thirteen whites. The number of free black 
and colored persons is about double that of the whites ; 
so that the proportion of white to that of colored pau- 
pers in the Bahamas, is nearly two to one. 

" Barbadoes. — The average annual number of persons 
supported in the nine parishes, from which returns have 
been sent, is nine hundred and ninetyeight, all of whom, 
with a single exception, are white. The probable 
amount of white persons in the island is fourteen thou- 
sand five hundred — of free black and colored persons, 
four thousand five hundred. 

c Berbice. — The white population appears to amount 
""Amelioration of Slavery, published in No. 16 of the Pamphleteer, 


to about six hundred, the free black and colored to nine 
hundred. In 1822, it appears that there were seventeen 
white and two colored paupers. 

" Demerara. — -The free black and colored population, 
it is supposed, are twice the number of the whites. The 
average number of white pensioners on the poor fund 
appears to be fiftyone, that of colored pensioners twenty- 
six. In occasional relief, the white paupers receive 
about three times as much as the colored. 

i{ Dominica. — The white population is estimated at 
about nine hundred ; the free black and colored popula- 
tion was ascertained, in 1825, to amount to three thou- 
sand one hundred and twentytwo. During the five 
years ending in November, 1825, thirty of the former 
class had received relief from the poor fund, and only 
ten of the latter, making the proportion of more than 
nine white paupers to one colored one in the same num- 
ber of persons. 

" Jamaica is supposed to contain twenty thousand 
whites, and double that number of free black and col- 
ored persons. The returns of paupers from the parishes 
which have sent returns, exhibits the average number of 
white paupers to be two hundred and ninetyfive, of black 
and colored paupers, one hundred and fortyeight ; the 
proportion of white paupers to those of the other class, 
according to the whole population, being as four to one. 

" Nevis. — The white population is estimated at about 
eight hundred, the free black and colored at about 
eighteen hundred. The number of white paupers re- 
ceiving relief is stated to be twentyfive ; that of the 
other class, two ; being in the proportion of twentyeight 
to one. 

ie St Christophers. — The average number of white 
paupers appears to be one hundred and fifteen ; that of 
the other class, fourteen ; although there is no doubt that 
the population of the latter class greatly outnumbers 
that of the former. 

" Tortola. — In 1825 the free black and colored popu- 
lation amounted to six hundred and seven. The whites 
are estimated at about three hundred. The number of 


white paupers relieved appears to be twentynine : of the 
other class, four : being in proportion of fourteen to one. 

" In short, in a population of free black and colored 
persons amounting to from eighty thousand to ninety 
thousand, only two hundred and twentynine persons 
have received any relief whatever as paupers during the 
years 1821 to 1825 ; and these chiefly the concubines 
and children of destitute whites ; while of about sixty- 
five thousand whites, in the same time, sixteen hundred 
and seventy five received relief. The proportion, there- 
fore, of enfranchised persons receiving any kind of aid 
as paupers in the West Indies, is about one in three 
hundred and seventy : whereas the proportion among the 
whites of the West Indies is about one in forty ; and in 
England, generally one in twelve or thirteen — in some 
counties, one in eight or nine. 

" Can any one read these statements, made by the 
colonists themselves, and still think it necessary to keep 
the negroes in slavery, lest they should be unable to 
maintain themselves if free 1 

" In 1823, the Assembly of Grenada passed a resolu- 
tion, declaring that the free colored inhabitants of these 
colonies, were a respectable, well behaved class of the 
community, were possessed of considerable property, and 
were entitled to have their claims viewed with favor. 

" In 1824, when Jamaica had been disturbed for 
months by unfounded alarms relating to the slaves, a 
committee of the legislative assembly declared that ' the 
conduct of the freed people evinced not only zeal and 
alacrity, but a warm interest in the welfare of the col- 
ony, and every way identified them with those who are 
the most zealous promoters of its internal security.' The 
assembly confirmed this favorable report a few months 
a g°> by passing a bill conferring on all free black and 
colored persons the same privileges, civil and political, 
with the white inhabitants. 

" In the orders issued in 1829, by the British Govern- 
ment, in St Lucia, placing all freemen of African de- 
scent upon the footing of equal rights with their white 
neighbors, the loyalty and good conduct of that class are 
distinctly acknowledged, and they are declared ' to have 


shown, hitherto, readiness and zeal in coming forward 
for the maintenance of order.' As similar orders have 
been issued for Trinidad, Berbice, and the Cape of Good 
Hope, it may be presumed that the conduct of the free 
blacks and colored persons in those colonies has like- 
wise given satisfaction to Government. 

" In the South African Commercial Advertiser of 9th 
of February, 1831, we are happy to find recorded one 
more of the numerous proofs which experience affords 
of the safety and expediency of immediate abolition. 

" Three thousand prize negroes have received their 
freedom ; four hundred in one day ; but not the least 
difficulty or disorder occurred ; — servants found mas- 
ters — masters hired servants ; all gained homes, and at 
night scarcely an idler icas to be seen. In the last 
month, one hundred and fifty were liberated under pre- 
cisely similar circumstances, and with the same result. 
These facts are within our own observation ; and to state 
that sudden and abrupt emancipation would create dis- 
order and distress to those you mean to serve, is not rea- 
son ; but the plea of all men who are adverse to eman- 

" As far as it can be ascertained from the various 
documents which have been cited, and from others, 
which, from the fear of making this account too long, 
are not particularly referred to, it appears that in every 
place and time in which emancipation has been tried, 
not one drop of white blood has been shed, or even en- 
dangered by it ; that it has everywhere greatly im- 
proved the condition of the blacks, and in most places 
has removed them from a state of degradation and 
suffering to one of respectability and happiness. Can 
it, then, be justifiable, on account of any vague fears 
of we know not what evils, to reject this just, salutary 
and hitherto uninjurious measure ; and to cling to a 
system which we know, by certain experience, is pro- 
ducing crime, misery and death, during every day of 
its existence IV 

In Mexico, September 15, 1829, the following decree 
was issued ; " Slavery is forever abolished in the repute 
lie ; and consequently all those individuals, who, until 


this day, looked upon themselves as slaves, are free." 
The prices of slaves were settled by the magistrates, 
and they were required to work with their master, for 
stipulated wages, until the debt was paid. If the slave 
wished to change masters he could do so, if another per- 
son would take upon himself the liability of payment, in 
exchange for his labor ; and provided the master was se- 
cured against loss, he was obliged to consent to the trans- 
action. Similar transfers might take place to accommo- 
date the master, but never without the consent of the 
servant. The law regulated the allowance of provis- 
ions, clothing, &c, and if the negro wished for more, 
he might have it charged, and deducted from his wages ; 
but lest masters should take advantage of the improvi- 
dence of their servants, it was enacted, that all charges 
exceeding half the earnings of any slave, or family of 
slaves, should be void in law. The duties of servants 
were defined as clearly as possible by the laws, and 
magistrates appointed to enforce them ; but the master 
was entrusted with no power to punish, in any manner 
whatever. It was expressly required that the masters 
should furnish every servant with suitable means of re- 
ligious and intellectual instruction. 

A Vermont gentleman, who had been a slave holder 
in Mississippi, and afterward resident at Metamoras, in 
Mexico, speaks with enthusiasm of the beneficial effects 
of these regulations, and thinks the example highly im- 
portant to the United States. He declares that the 
value of the plantations was soon increased by the intro- 
duction of free labor. " No one was made poor by it. 
It gave property to the servant, and increased the riches 
of the master." 

The republics of Buenos Ayres, Chili, Bolivia, Peru, Co- 
lombia, Guatimala and Monte Video, likewise took steps 
for the abolition of slavery, soon after they themselves 
came into possession of freedom. In some of these states, 
means were taken for the instruction of young slaves, 
who were all enfranchised by law, on arriving at a cer- 
tain age ; in others, universal emancipation is to take 
place after a certain date, fixed by the laws. The em- 
pire of Brazil, and the United States are the only 


American nations, that have taken no measures to 
destroy this most pestilent system ; and I have recently 
been assured by intelligent Brazilians, that public opin- 
ion in that country is now so strongly opposed to slavery, 
that something effectual will be done toward abolition, at 
the very next meeting of the Cortes. If this should take 
place, the United States will stand alone in most hideous 

When Necker wrote his famous book on French 
finances, he suggested a universal compact of nations to 
suppress the slave trade. The exertions of England 
alone have since nearly realized his generous plan, 
though avarice and cunning do still manage to elude her 
vigilance and power. She has obtained from Spain, 
Portugal, France, Holland, and Denmark, a mutual 
right to search all vessels suspected of being engag- 
ed in this wicked traffic* I believe I am correct in 
saying that ours is now the only flag, which can pro- 
tect this iniquity from the just indignation of England. 
When a mutual right of search w T as proposed to us, a 
strong effort was made to blind the people with their own 
prejudices, by urging the old complaint of the impress- 
ment of seamen ; and alas, when has an unsuccessful 
appeal been made to passion and prejudice 1 It is evi- 
dent that nothing on earth ought to prevent cooperation 
in a cause like this. Besides, "It is useless for us to 
attempt to linger on the skirts of the age that is depart- 
ing. The action of existing causes and principles is 
steady and progressive. It cannot he retarded, unless 
we would ' blow out all the moral lights around us ;' and 
if we refuse to keep up with it, we shall be towed in the 
wake, whether we are willing or not." f 

When I think of the colonies established along the 
coast of Africa — of Algiers, conquered and civilized — 
of the increasing wealth and intelligence of Hayti — of 
the powerful efforts now being made all over the world 
to sway public opinion in favor of universal freedom — of 
the certain emancipation of slaves in all British Colonies 

* The British government actually paid Spain 400,000 pounds, as 
an indemnity to those engaged in the slave trade, on condition that 
the traffic should be abolished by law throughout her dominions. 

t Speech of Mr Brodnax of Virginia. 



— and above all, the evident union of purpose existing 
between the French and English cabinets, — I can most 
plainly see the hand of God working for the deliverance 
of the negroes. We may resist the blessed influence, if 
we will ; but we cannot conquer. Every year the plot 
is thickening around us, and the nations of the earth, 
either consciously or unconsciously, are hastening the 
crisis. The defenders of the slave system are situated 
like the man in the Iron Shroud, the walls of whose 
prison daily moved nearer and nearer, by means of pow- 
erful machinery, until they crushed all that remained 
within them. 

But to return to the subject of emancipation. Nearly 
every one of the States north of Mason and Dixon's line 
once held slaves. These slaves were manumitted with- 
out bloodshed, and there was no trouble in making free 
colored laborers obey the laws. 

I am aware that this desirable change must be attend- 
ed with much more difficulty in the Southern States, 
simply because the evil has been suffered until it is 
fearfully overgrown ; but it must not be forgotten that 
while they are using their ingenuity and strength to sus- 
tain it for the present, the mischief is increasing more 
and more rapidly. If this be not a good time to apply 
a remedy, when will be a better ? They must annihi- 
late slavery, or slavery will annihilate them. 

It seems to be forgotten that emancipation from 
tyranny is not an emancipation from law; the negro, 
after he is made free, is restrained from the commission 
of crimes by the same laws which restrain other citi- 
zens : if he steals, he will be imprisoned : if he commits 
murder, he will be hung. 

It will, perhaps, be said that the free people of color in 
the slave portions of this country are peculiarly ignorant, 
idle, and vicious ? It may be so ; for our laws and our 
influence are peculiarly calculated to make them bad 
members of society. But we trust the civil power to 
keep in order the great mass of ignorant and vicious for- 
eigners continually pouring into the country ; and if the 
laws are strong enough for this, may they not be trusted 
to restrain the free blacks ? 


In those countries where the slave codes are mild, 
where emancipation is rendered easy, and inducements 
are offered to industry, insurrections are not feared, and 
free people of color form a valuable portion of the com- 
munity. If we persist in acting in opposition to the es- 
tablished laws of nature and reason, how can we expect 
favorable results ? But it is pronounced unsafe to 
change our policy. Every progressive improvement in 
the world has been resisted by despotism, on the ground 
that changes were dangerous. The Emperor of Austria 
thinks there is need of keeping his subjects ignorant, 
that good order may be preserved. But what he calls 
good order, is sacrificing the happiness of many to the 
advancement of a few ; and no doubt knowledge is un- 
favorable to the continuation of such a state of things,, 
It is precisely so with the slave holder ; he insists that 
the welfare of millions must be subordinate to his private 
interest, or else all good order is destroyed. 

It is much to be regretted that Washington enfran- 
chised his slaves in the manner he did ; because their 
poverty and indolence have furnished an ever ready ar- 
gument for those who are opposed to emancipation.* 
To turn slaves adrift in their old age, unaccustomed to 
take care of themselves, without employment, and in a 
community where all the prejudices were strongly ar- 
rayed against free negroes, was certainly an unhappy 

But if slaves w r ere allow r ed to redeem themselves pro- 
gressively, by purchasing one day of the week after 
another, as they can in the Spanish colonies, habits of 

* With all my unbounded reverence for Washington, I have, I 
confess, sometimes found it hard to forgive him for not manumit- 
ting his slaves long before his death. A fact which has lately come 
to my knowledge, gave me great joy ; for it furnishes a rea- 
son for what had appeared to me unpardonable. It appears that 
Washington possessed a gang of negroes in right of his wife, with 
which his own negroes had intermarried. By the marriage settle- 
ment, the former were limited, in default of issue of the marriage, 
to the representatives of Mrs Washington at her death ; so that 
her negroes could not be enfranchised. An unwillingness to sepa- 
rate parents and children, husbands and wives, induced Washing- 
ton to postpone the manumission of his own slaves. This motive 
is briefly, and as it were accidentally, referred to in his will. 


industry would be gradually formed, and enterprise 
would be stimulated, by their successful efforts to acquire 
a little property. And if they afterward worked better 
as free laborers than they now do as slaves, it would 
surely benefit their masters, as well as themselves. 

That strong-hearted republican, La Fayette, when he 
returned to France in 1785, felt strongly urged by a 
sense of duty, to effect the emancipation of slaves in the 
Colony of Cayenne. As most of the property in the 
colony belonged to the crown, he was enabled to prose- 
cute his plans with less difficulty than he could other- 
wise have done. Thirty thousand dollars were expended 
in the purchase of plantations and slaves, for the sole 
purpose of proving by experiment the safety and good 
policy of conferring freedom.* Being afraid to trust the 
agents generally employed in the colony, he engaged a 
prudent and amiable man at Paris to undertake the busi- 
ness. This gentleman, being fully instructed in La Fay- 
ette's plans and wishes, sailed for Cayenne. The first 
thing he did when he arrived, was to collect all the cart- 
whips, and other instruments of punishment, and have 
them burnt amid a general assemblage of the slaves ; he 
then made known to them the laws and rules by which 
the estates would be governed. The object of all the 
regulations was to encourage industry by making it the 
means of freedom. This new kind of stimulus had a 
most favorable effect on the slaves, and gave promise of 
complete success. But the judicious agent died in con- 
sequence of the climate, and the French Revolution 
threw everything into a state of convulsion at home and 
abroad. The new republic of France bestowed uncon- 
ditional emancipation upon the slaves in her colonies ; 
and had she persevered in her promises with good faith 
and discretion, the horrors of St Domingo might have 
been spared. The emancipated negroes in Cayenne 
came in a body to the agents, and declared that if the 
plantations still belonged to General La Fayette they were 
ready and willing to resume their labors for the benefit of 

* It is now reported that the Hon. Mr Wirt has purchased a plan- 
tation in Florida, with the same benevolent intent. Such a step is 
worthy of that noble minded and distinguished man, 



one who had treated them like men, and cheered their 
toil by making it a certain means of freedom. 

I cannot forbear paying a tribute of respect to the 
venerable Moses Brown, of Providence, Rhode Island, 
now living in virtuous and vigorous old age. He was a 
slave owner in early life, and, unless I have been misin- 
formed, a slave dealer, likewise. When his attention 
became roused to religious subjects, these facts troubled 
his conscience. He easily and promptly decided that a 
Christian could not consistently keep slaves ; but he did 
not dare to trust his own nature to determine the best 
manner of doing justice to those he had wronged. He 
therefore appointed a committee, before whom he laid a 
statement of the expenses he had incurred for the food 
and clothing of his slaves, and of the number of years, 
during which he had had the exclusive benefit of their 
labors. He conceived that he had no right to charge 
them for their freedom, because God had given them an 
unalienable right to that possession, from the very hour 
of their birth ; but he wished the committee to decide 
what wages he ought to pay them for the work they had 
done. He cordially accepted the decision of the com- 
mittee, paid the negroes their dues, and left them to 
choose such employments as they thought best. Many 
of the grateful slaves preferred to remain with him as 
hired laborers. It is hardly necessary to add that Moses 
Brown is a Quaker. 

It is commonly urged against emancipation that white 
men cannot possibly labor under the sultry climate of our 
most southerly States. This is a good reason for not 
sending the slaves out of the country, but it is no argu- 
ment against making them free. No doubt we do need 
their labor ; but we ought to pay for it. Why should 
their presence be any more disagreeable as hired labor- 
ers, than as slaves ? In Boston, we continually meet 
colored people in the streets, and employ them in vari- 
ous ways, without being endangered, or even incom- 
moded. There is no moral impossibility in a perfectly 
kind and just relation between the two races. 

If white men think otherwise, let them remove from 
climates which nature has made too hot for their consti- 


tutions. Wealth or pleasure often induces men to 
change their abode ; an emigration for the sake of hu- 
manity would be an agreeable novelty. Algernon Sid- 
ney said, " When I cannot live in my own country, but 
by such means as are worse than dying in it, I think 
God shows me that I ought to keep myself out of it." 

But the slave holders try to stop all the efforts of be- 
nevolence, by vociferous complaints about infringing 
upon their property ; and justice is so subordinate to self- 
interest, that the unrighteous claim is silently allowed, 
and even openly supported, by those who ought to blush 
for themselves, as Christians and as republicans. Let 
men simplify their arguments — let them confine them- 
selves to one single question, " What right can a man 
have to compel his neighbor to toil without reward, and 
leave the same hopeless inheritance to his children, in 
order that he may live in luxury and indolence V Let 
the doctrines of expediency return to the Father of Lies, 
who invented them, and gave them power to turn every 
way for evil. The Christian knows no appeal from the 
decisions of God, plainly uttered in his conscience. 

The laws of Venice allowed property in human be- 
ings ; and upon this ground Shylock demanded his 
pound of flesh, cut nearest to the heart. Those who 
advertise mothers to be sold separately from their child- 
ren, likewise claim a right to human flesh ; and they 
too cut it nearest to the heart. 

The personal liberty of one man can never be the 
property of another. All ideas of property are founded 
upon the mutual agreement of the human race, and are 
regulated by such laws as are deemed most conducive to 
the general good. In slavery there is no mutual agrees 
ment ; for in that case it would not be slavery. The 
negro has no voice in the matter — no alternative is pre- 
sented to him — no bargain is made. The beginning of 
his bondage is the triumph of power over weakness ; its 
continuation is the tyranny of knowledge over ignor- 
ance. One man may as well claim an exclusive right to 
the air another man breathes, as to the possession of his 
limbs and faculties. Personal freedom is the birthright 
of every human being. God himself made it the first 


great law of creation ; and no human enactment can 
render it null and void. " If," says Price, " you have a 
right to make another man a slave, he has a right to 
make yon a slave ;•" and Ramsay says, "If we have in 
the beginning no right to sell a man, no person has a 
right to buy him." 

Am I reminded that the laws acknowledge these 
vested rights in human flesh ? I answer, the laws them- 
selves were made by individuals, who wished to justify 
the wrong and profit by it. We ought never to have 
recognised a claim, which cannot exist according to the 
laws of God ; it is our duty to atone for the error ; and 
the sooner we make a beginning, the better will it be for 
us all. Must our arguments be based upon justice 
and mercy to the slave holders only ? Have the negroes 
no right to ask compensation for their years and years of 
unrewarded toil 1 It is true that they have food and cloth- 
ing, of such kind, and in such quantities, as their mas- 
ters think proper. But it is evident that this is not the 
worth of their labor ; for the proprietors can give from 
one hundred to five and six hundred dollars for a slave, 
beside the expense of supporting those who are too old or 
too young to labor. They could not afford to do this, if 
the slave did not earn more than he receives in food and 
clothing. If the laws allowed the slave to redeem him- 
self progressively, the owner would receive his money 
back again ; and the negro's years of uncompensated 
toil would be more than lawful interest. 

The southerners are much in the habit of saying they 
really wish for emancipation, if it could he effected in 
safety ; but I search in vain for any proof that these as- 
sertions are sincere. (When I say this, I speak collec- 
tively ; there are, no doubt, individual exceptions.) 

Instead of profiting by the experience of other nations, 
the slave owners, as a body, have resolutely shut their 
eyes against the light, because they preferred darkness. 
Every change in the laws has rivetted the chain closer 
and closer upon their victims ; every attempt to make the 
voice of reason and benevolence heard has been overpow- 
ered with threatening and abuse. A cautious vigilance 
against improvement, a keen-eyed jealousy of all freedom 


of opinion, has characterized their movements. There 
can be no doubt that the majority wish to perpetuate 
slavery. They support it with loud bravado, or insidi- 
ous sophistry, or pretended regret ) but they never 
abandon the point. Their great desire is to keep the 
public mind turned in another direction. They are well 
aware that the ugly edifice is built of rotten timbers, and 
stands on slippery sands — if the loud voice of public 
opinion could be made to reverberate through its dreary 
chambers, the unsightly frame would fall, never to rise 

Since so many of their own citizens admit that the 
policy of this system is unsound, and its effects injurious^ 
it is wonderful that they do not begin to destroy the 
" costly iniquity" in good earnest. But long continued 
habit is very powerful ; and in the habit of slavery are 
concentrated the strongest evils of human nature — 
vanity, pride, love of power, licentiousness, and indolence. 

There is a minority, particularly in Virginia and Ken- 
tucky, who sincerely wish a change for the better ; but 
they are overpowered, and have not even ventured to 
speak, except in the great Virginia debate of 1832. In 
the course of that debate the spirit of slavery showed itself 
without disguise. The members talked of emancipation ; 
but with one or two exceptions, they merely wanted to 
emancipate or rather to send away, the surplus popula- 
tion, which they could neither keep nor sell, and which 
might prove dangerous. They wished to get rid of the 
consequences of the evil, but were determined to keep 
the evil itself. Some members from Western Virginia, 
who spoke in a better spirit, and founded their argu- 
ments on the broad principles of justice, not on the mere 
convenience of a certain class, were repelled with angry 
excitement. The eastern districts threatened to sepa- 
rate from the western, if the latter persisted in express- 
ing opinions opposed to the continuance of slavery. 
From what I have uniformly heard of the comparative 
prosperity of Eastern and Western Virginia, I should 
think this was very much like the town's poor threaten- 
ing to separate from the town. 

The mere circumstance of daring to debate on the 


subject was loudly reprimanded ; and there was a good 
deal of indignation expressed that " reckless editors, and 
imprudent correspondents, had presumed so far as to al* 
lude to it in the columns of a newspaper.' 5 Discussion in 
the Legislature was strongly deprecated until a plan had 
been formed ; yet they must have known that no plan 
could be formed, in a republican government, without 
previous discussion. The proposal contained within 
itself that self-perpetuating power, for which the schemes 
of slave owners are so remarkable, 

Mr Gholson sarcastically rebuked the restless spirit of 
improvement, by saying " he really had been under the 
impression that he owned his slaves. He had lately pur- 
chased four women and ten children, in whom he 
thought he had obtained a great bargain ; for he sup- 
posed they were his own property, as were Ms brood 
mares." To which Mr Roane replied, " I own a con- 
siderable number of slaves, and am perfectly sure they 
are mine ; and I am sorry to add that I have occasion- 
ally, though not often, been compelled to make them feel 
the impression of that ownership. I would not touch a 
hair on the head of the gentleman's slave, any sooner 
than I would a hair in the mane of his horse," 

Mr R. likewise remarked, " I think slavery as much a 
correlative of liberty as cold is of heat. History, expe- 
rience, observation and reason, have taught me that the 
torch of liberty has ever burned brighter when sur- 
rounded by the dark and filthy, yet nutritious atmosphere 
of slavery ! I do not believe in the fanfaronade that all 
men are by nature equal. But these abstract specula- 
tions have nothing to do with the question, which I am 
willing to view as one of cold, sheer state policy, in 
which the safety, prosperity, and happiness of the whites 
alone are concerned." 

Would Mr Roane carry out his logic into all its de- 
tails ? Would he cherish intemperance, that sobriety 
might shine the brighter ? Would he encourage theft, 
in order to throw additional lustre upon honesty ? Yet 
there seems to be precisely the same relation between 
these things that there is between slavery and freedom. 
Such sentiments sound oddly enough in the mouth of a 
republican of the nineteenth century ! 


When Mr Wirt, before the Supreme Federal Court, 
said that slavery was contrary to the laws of nature and 
of nations, and that the law of South Carolina concern- 
ing seizing colored seamen, was unconstitutional, the 
Governor directed several reproofs at him. In 1825, Mr 
King laid on the table of the United States Senate a re- 
solution to appropriate the proceeds of the public lands 
to the emancipation of slaves, and the removal of free 
negroes, provided the same could be done under and 
agreeable to, the laws of the respective States. He said 
he did not wish it to be debated, but considered at some 
future time. Yet kindly and cautiously as this move- 
ment was made, the whole South resented it, and Gov- 
ernor Troup called to the Legislature and people of 
Georgia, to " stand to their arms." In 1827 the people 
of Baltimore presented a memorial to Congress, praying 
that slaves born in the District of Columbia after a given 
time, specified by law, might become free on arriv- 
ing at a certain age. A famous member from South 
Carolina called this an " impertinent interference, and 
a violation of the principles of liberty !" and the petition 
was not even committed. Another Southern gentleman in 
Congress objected to the Panama mission because Bo* 
livar had proclaimed liberty to the slaves. 

Mr Hayne, in his reply to Mr Webster, says : " There 
is a spirit, which, like the father of evil, is constantly 
walking to and fro about the earth, seeking whom it may 
devour ; it is the spirit of false philanthropy. When 
this is infused into the bosom of a statesman (if one so 
possessed can be called a statesman) it converts him at 
once into a visionary enthusiast. Then he indulges in 
golden dreams of national greatness and prosperity. He 
discovers that * liberty is power/ and not content with 
vast schemes of improvement at home, which it would 
bankrupt the treasury of the world to execute, he flies to 
foreign lands to fulfil ' obligations to the human race, by 
inculcating the principles of civil and religious liberty/ 
&c. This spirit has long been busy with the slaves of 
the South ; and it is even now displaying itself in vain ef- 
forts to drive the government from its wise policy in rela- 
tion to the Indians." 


Governor Miller, of South Carolina, speaking of the 
tariff and " the remedy/' asserted that slave labor was 
preferable to free, and challenged the free states to compe- 
tition on fair terms. Governor Hamilton of the same 
State, in delivering an address on the same subject, ut- 
tered a eulogy upon slavery ; concluding as usual that 
nothing but the tariff — nothing but the rapacity of 
Northerners, could have nullified such great blessings 
of Providence, as the cheap labor and fertile soil of 
Carolina. Mr Calhoun, in his late speech in the Senate, 
alludes in a tone of strong disapprobation, and almost 
of reprimand, to the remarkable debate in the Virginia 
Legislature : the occurrence of which offence he charges 
to the opinions and policy of the north. 

If these things evince any real desire to do away the 
evil, I cannot discover it. There are many who inherit 
the misfortune of slavery, and would gladly renounce the 
miserable- birthright if they could ; for their sakes, I wish 
the majority were guided by a better spirit and a wiser 
policy. But this state of things cannot last. The ope- 
rations of Divine Providence are hastening the crisis, 
and move which way we will, it must come in some form 
or other ; if we take warning in time, it may come as 
a blessing. The spirit of philanthropy, which Mr Hayne 
calls ' false,' is walking to and fro in the earth ; and it 
will not pause, or turn back, till it has fastened the 
golden band of love and peace around a sinful world. — 
The sun of knowledge and liberty is already high in the 
heavens — it is peeping into every dark nook and corner 
of the earth — and the African cannot be always exclu- 
ded from its beams. 

The advocates of slavery remind me of a comparison I 
once heard differently applied : Even thus does a dog, 
unwilling to follow his master's carriage, bite the wheels, 
in a vain effort to stop its progress. 




Casca. I believe these are portentous things 
Unto the climate that they point upon. 

Cicero. Indeed it is a strange disposed time : 
But men may construe things after their fashion, 
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves. 

Julius 'Cjesar. 

When slave representation was admitted into the Con- 
stitution of the United States, a wedge was introduced, 
which has ever since effectually sundered the sympathies 
and interests of different portions of the country. By 
this step, the slave States acquired an undue advantage, 
which they have maintained with anxious jealousy, and 
in which the free States have never perfectly acquiesced, 
The latter would probably never have made the conces- 
sion, so contrary to their principles, and the express pro- 
visions of their State constitutions, if powerful motives 
had not been offered by the South. These consisted, first, 
in taking upon themselves a proportion of direct taxes, 
increased in the same ratio as their representation was 
increased by the concession to their slaves. 

Second. — In conceding to the small States an entire 
equality in the Senate. This was not indeed proposed 
as an item of the adjustment, but it operated as such ; 
for the small States, with the exception of Georgia, (which 
in fact expected to become one of the largest,) lay in the 
North, and were either free, or likely soon to become so. 

During most of the contest, Massachusetts, then one 

of the large States, voted with Virginia and Pennsylvania 

for unequal representation in the Senate; but on the 

final question she was divided, and gave no vote. There 



was probably an increasing tendency to view this part of 
the compromise not merely as a concession of the large 
to the small States, but also of the largely slave-holding, 
to the free, or slightly slave-holding States. The two 
questions of direct taxes in proportion to slave represen- 
tation, and of perfect equality in the Senate, were always 
connected together ; and a large committee of compro- 
mise, consisting of one member from each State, ex- 
pressly recommended that both provisions should be 
adopted, but neither of them without the other. 

Such were the equivalents, directly or indirectly of- 
fered, by which the free States were induced to consent 
to slave representation. It was not without very consid- 
erable struggles that they overcame their repugnance to 
admitting such a principle in the construction of a repub- 
lican government. Mr Gerry, of Massachusetts, at first 
exclaimed against it with evident horror, but at last, he 
was chairman of the committee of compromise. Even 
the slave States themselves, seem to have been a little 
embarrassed with the discordant element. A curious 
proof of this is given in the language of the Constitution. 
The ugly feature is covered as cautiously as the deformed 
visage of the Veiled Prophet. The words are as follows : 
" Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned 
among the States according to their respective numbers ; 
which shall be ascertained by adding to the whole num- 
ber of free persons, including those hound to servitude 
for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, 
three fifths of all other persons" In this most elaborate 
sentence, a foreigner would discern no slavery. None 
but those who already knew the venomous serpent, would 
be able to discover its sting. 

Governor Wright, of Maryland, a contemporary of all 
these transactions, and a slave holder, after delivering a 
eulogy upon the kindness of masters* expressed himself 
as follows : " The Constitution guaranties to us the ser- 
vices of these persons. It does not say slaves ; for the 

* It was stated, at the time, that this person frequently steamed his 
negroes, in order to reduce their size to an equal weight for riding 
race horses. This practice is understood to be common at the South. 


feelings of the framers of that glorious instrument would 
not suffer them to use that word, on account of its anti- 
congeniality — its incongeniality to the idea of a consti- 
tution for freemen. It says, ' persons held to service, or la- 
bor.' " — Gov. Wright's Speech in Congress, March, 

This high praise bestowed on the form of our consti- 
tution, reminds me of an anecdote. A clergyman in a 
neighboring State, being obliged to be absent from his 
parish, procured a young man to supply his place, who 
was very worldly in his inclinations, and very gay in his 
manners. When the minister returned, his people said 
somewhat reproachfully, " How could you provide such 
a man to preach for us ; you might at least have left us a 
hypocrite v " 

While all parties agreed to act in opposition to the 
principles of justice, they all concurred to pay homage 
to them by hypocrisy of language ! Men are willing to 
try all means to appear honest, except the simple experi- 
ment of being so. It is true, there were individuals 
who distrusted this compromise at the time, if they did 
not wholly disapprove of it. It is said that Washington, 
as he was walking thoughtfully near the Schuylkill, was 
met by a member of the Convention, to whom, in the 
course of conversation, he acknowledged that he was 
meditating whether^it would not be better to separate, 
without proposing a constitution to the people ; for he 
was in great doubt whether the frame of government, 
which was now nearly completed, would be better for 
them, than to trust to the course of events, and await 
future emergencies. 

This anecdote was derived from an authentic source, 
and I have no doubt of its truth ; neither is there any 
doubt that Washington had in his mind this great com- 
promise, the pivot on which the system of government 
was to turn. 

If avarice was induced to shake hands with injustice, 
from the expectation of increased direct taxation upon 
the South, she gained little by the bargain. With the 
exception of two brief periods, during the French war, 
and the last war with England, the revenue of the 


United States has been raised by duties on imports. — 
The heavy debts and expenditures of the several States, 
which they had been accustomed to provide for by 
direct taxes, and which they probably expected to 
see provided for by the same means in time to come, 
have been all paid by duties on imports. The greatest 
proportion of these duties are, of course, paid by the free 
States ; for here, the poorest laborer daily consumes 
several articles of foreign production, of which from one 
eighth to one half the price is a tax paid to government. 
The clothing of the slave population increases the reve- 
nue very little, and their food almost none at all. 

Wherever free labor and slave labor exist under the 
same government, there must be a perpetual clashing of 
interests. The legislation required for one, is, in its 
spirit and maxims, diametrically opposed to that required 
for the other. Hence Mr Madison predicted, in the 
convention, which formed our Federal Constitution, that 
the contests would be between the great geographical 
sections : that such had been the division, even during 
the war and the confederacy. 

In the same convention, Charles Pinckney, a man of 
great sagacity, spoke of the equal representation of large 
and small States as a matter of slight consequence ; no 
difficulties would ever arise on that point, he said ; the 
question would always be between thp slave-holding and 
non-slave-holding; interests. 

If the pressure of common danger, and the sense of 
individual weakness, during our contest for indepen- 
dence, could not bring the States to mutual confidence, 
nothing ever can do it, except a change of character. — * 
From the adoption of the constitution to the present time, 
the breach has been gradually widening. The South 
has pursued a uniform and sagacious system of policy, 
which, in all its bearings, direct and indirect, has been 
framed for the preservation and extension of slave power. 
This system, has in the very nature of the two things, 
constantly interfered with the interests of the free States ; 
and hitherto the South have always gained the victory. 
This has principally been accomplished by yoking all 
important questions together in pairs, and strenuously 
resisting the passage of one, unless accompanied by the 


other. The South was desirous of removing the seat of 
government from Philadelphia to Washington, because 
the latter is in a slave territory, where republican repre- 
sentatives and magistrates can bring their slaves without 
danger of losing them, or having them contaminated by 
the principles of universal liberty : The assumption of 
the State debts, likely to bring considerable money back 
to the North, was linked with this question, and both 
were carried. The admission of Maine into the Union 
as a free State, and of Missouri as a slave State, were 
two more of these Siamese twins, not allowed to be sepa- 
rated from each other. A numerous smaller progeny 
may be found in the laying of imposts, and the succes- 
sive adjustment of protection to navigation, the fisheries, 
agriculture, and manufactures. 

There would perhaps be no harm in this system of 
compromises, or any objection to its continuing in in- 
finite series, if no injustice were done to a third party, 
which is never heard or noticed, except for purposes of 

I reverence the wisdom of our early legislators ; but 
they certainly did very wrong to admit slavery as an ele^ 
ment into a free constitution; and to sacrifice the known 
and declared rights of a third and weaker party, in order 
to cement a union between two stronger ones. Such an 
arrangement ought not, and could not, come to good. It 
has given the slave States a controlling power which they 
will always keep, so long as we remain together. 

President John Adams was of opinion, that this 
ascendency might be attributed to an early mistake, 
originating in what he called the " Frankford advice." 
When the first Congress was summoned in Philadelphia, 
Doctor Rush, and two or three other eminent men of 
Pennsylvania, met the Massachusetts delegates at Frank- 
ford, a few miles from Philadelphia, and conjured them, 
as they valued the success of the common cause, to let no 
measure of importance appear to originate with the 
North, to yield precedence in all things to Virginia, and 
lead her if possible to commit herself to the Revolution. 
Above all, they begged that not a word might be said 
about "independence;" for that a strong prejudice 


already existed against the delegates from New England, 
on account of a supposed design to throw off their alle- 
giance to the mother country, " The Frankford advice" 
was followed. The delegates from Virginia took the 
lead on all occasions. 

His son, John Q,. Adams, finds a more substantial 
reason. In his speech on the Tariff, February 4, 1833, 
he said : " Not three days since, Mr Clayton of Geor- 
gia, called that species of population (viz. slaves) the 
machinery of the South. Now that machinery had 
twenty odd representatives'* in that hall, — not elected 
by the machinery, but by those who owned it, And if 
he should go back to the history of this government from 
its foundation, it would be easy to prove that its decisions 
had been effected, in general, by less majorities than 
that. Nay, he might go farther, and insist that that very 
representation had ever been, in fact, the ruling power of 
this government." 

" The history of the Union has afforded a continual 
proof that this representation of property, which they 
enjoy, as well in the election of President and Vice Pre- 
sident of the United States, as upon the floor of the 
House of Representatives, has secured to the slave-hold- 
ing States the entire control of the national policy, and, 
almost without exception, the possession of the highest 
executive office of the Union. Always united in the pur- 
pose of regulating the affairs of the whole Union by the 
standard of the slave-holding interest, their disproportion- 
ate numbers in the electoral colleges have enabled them, 
in ten out of twelve quadrennial elections, to confer the 
Chief Magistracy upon one of their own citizens. — 
Their suffrages at every election, without exception, have 
been almost exclusively confined to a candidate of their 
own caste. Availing themselves of the divisions which, 
from the nature of man, always prevail in communities 
entirely free, they have sought and found auxiliaries in 
the other quarters of the Union, by associating the pas- 
sions of parties, and the ambition of individuals, with 
their own purposes, to establish and maintain throughout 
the confederated nation the slave-holding policy. The 

* There are now twentyfive cdd representatives — that is, repre 
sentatives of slaves. 


office of Vice President, a station of high dignity, but of 
little other than contingent power, had been usually, by 
their indulgence, conceded to a citizen of the other sec- 
tion ; but even this political courtesy was superseded at 
the election before the last, and both the offices of Pre- 
sident and Vice President of the United States were, by 
the preponderancy of slave-holding votes, bestowed upon 
citizens of two adjoining and both slave-holding States. 
At this moment the President of the United States, the 
President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the United 
States, are all citizens of that favored portion of the united 
republic. The last of these offices, being, under the 
constitution, held by the tenure of good behaviour, has 
been honored and dignified by the occupation of the pre- 
sent incumbent upwards of thirty years. An overruling 
sense of the high responsibilities under which it is held, 
has effectually guarded him from permitting the sectional 
slave-holding spirit to ascend the tribunal of justice ; and 
it is not difficult to discern, in this inflexible impartiality, 
the source of the obloquy which that same spirit has not 
been inactive in attempting to excite against the Su- 
preme Court of the United States itself; and of the insu- 
perable aversion of the votaries of nullification to encoun- 
ter or abide by the decision of that tribunal, the true and 
legitimate umpire of constitutional, controverted law."* 

It is worthy of observation that this slave representation 
is always used to protect and extend slave power ; and 
in this way, the slaves themselves are made to vote for 
slavery : they are compelled to furnish halters to hang 
their posterity. 

Machiavel says that " the whole politics of rival states 
consist in checking the growth of one another." It is 
sufficiently obvious, that the slave and free States are, and 
must be, rivals, owing to the inevitable contradiction of 
their interests. It needed no Machiavel to predict the 
result. A continual strife has been going on, more or 
less earnest, according to the nature of the interests it 
involved, and the South has always had strength and 

* It seems to me that a political pamphlet was never written with 
more ability, clearness, and moderation, than Mr Adams's Report on 
the Tariff. 


skill to carry her point. Of all our Presidents, Washing- 
ton alone, had power to keep the jealousies of his coun- 
trymen in check ; and he used his influence nobly. — 
Some of his successors have cherished those jealousies, 
and made effective use of them. 

The people of the North have to manage a rocky and 
reluctant soil ; hence commerce and the fisheries early 
attracted their attention. The products of these employ- 
ments were, as they should be, proportioned to the dex- 
terity and hard labor required in their pursuit. The 
North grew opulent ; and her politicians, who came in 
contact with those of the South with anything like rival 
pretensions, represented the commercial class, which 
was the nucleus of the old Federal party. 

The Southerners have a genial climate and a fertile 
soil ; but in consequence of the cumbrous machinery of 
slave labor, which is slow for everything, (except exhaust- 
ing the soil,) they have always been less prosperous than 
the free States. It is said, I know not with how much 
truth, but it is certainly very credible, that a great pro- 
portion of their plantations are deeply mortgaged in New 
York and Philadelphia. It is likewise said that the ex- 
penses of the planters are generally one or two years in 
advance of their income. Whether these statements be 
true or not, the most casual observer will decide, that the 
free States are uniformly the most prosperous, notwith- 
standing the South possesses a political power, by which 
she manages to check-mate us at every important move. 
When we add this to the original jealousy spoken of by 
Mr Madison, it is not wonderful that Southern politicians 
take so little pains to conceal their strong dislike of the 

A striking difference of manners, also caused by 
slavery, serves to aggravate other differences. Slave 
holders have the habit of command; and from the supe- 
rior ease with which it sits upon them, they seem to 
imagine that they were " born to command," and we to 
obey. In time of war, they tauntingly told us that we 
might furnish the men, and they would furnish the offi- 
cers ; but in time of peace they find our list of pensioners 
so large, they complain that we did furnish so many men. 


At the North, every body is busy in some employ- 
ment, and politics, with very few exceptions, form but a 
brief episode in the lives of the citizens. But the 
Southern politicians are men of leisure. They have 
nothing to do but to ride round their plantations, hunt, 
attend the races, study politics for the next legislative 
or congressional campaign, and decide how to use the 
prodigious mechanical power, of slave representation, 
which a political Archimedes may effectually wield for 
the destruction of commerce, or anything else, involving 
the prosperity of the free States. 

It has been already said, that most of the wealth in 
New England was made by commerce ; consequently 
the South became unfriendly to commerce. There 
was a class in New England, jealous, and not with- 
out reason, of their own commercial aristocracy. It 
was the policy of the South to foment these passions, and 
increase these prejudices. Thus was the old Democratic 
party formed ; and while that party honestly supposed 
they were merely resisting the encroachments of a nobil- 
ity at home, they were actually playing a game for one 
of the most aristocratic classes in the world — viz. the 
Southern planters. A famous slave owner and politi- 
cian, openly boasted, that the South could always put 
down the aristocracy of the North, by means of her own 
democracy. In this point of view, democracy becomes 
a machine used by one aristocratic class against another, 
that has less power, and is therefore less dangerous. 

There are features in the organization of society, re- 
sulting from slavery, which are conducive to anything 
but the union of these States. A large class are with- 
out employment, are accustomed to command, and have a 
strong contempt for habits of industry. This class, like 
the nobility of feudal times, are restless, impetuous, eager 
for excitement, and prompt to settle all questions with the 
sword. Like the fierce old barons, at the head of their 
vassals, they are ever ready to resist and nullify the cen* 
tral power of the State, whenever it interferes with their 
individual interests, or even approaches the strong holds 
of their prejudices. All history shows, that men possess- 
ing hereditary, despotic power, cannot easily be brought 


to acknowledge a superior, either in the administrators 
of the laws, or in the law itself. It was precisely such a 
class of men that covered Europe with camps, for up- 
wards of ten centuries. 

A Southern governor has dignified duelling with the 
name of an " institution 55 ; and the planters generally, 
seem to regard it as among those which they have denom- 
inated their " peculiar institutions. 55 General Wilkinson, 
who was the son of a slave owner, expresses in his me- 
moirs, great abhorrence of duelling, and laments the 
powerful influence which his fathers injunction, when 
a boy, had upon his after life *. " James, 55 said the old 
gentleman, " if you ever take an insult, I will disinherit 
you. 55 

A young lawyer, who went from Massachusetts to re- 
side at the South, has frequently declared that he could 
not take any stand there as a lawyer, or a gentleman, 
until he had fought : he was subject to continual insult 
and degradation, until he had evinced his readiness to 
kill, or be killed. It is obvious that such a state of morals 
elevates mere physical courage into a most undue impor- 
tance. There are indeed emergencies, when all the 
virtues, and all the best affections of man, are intertwined 
w r ith personal bravery ; but this is not the kind of cour- 
age, which makes duelling in fashion. The patriot nobly 
sacrifices himself for the good of others ; the duellist 
wantonly sacrifices others to himself. 

Brow-beating, which is the pioneer of the pistol, 
characterizes, particularly of late years, the Southern 
legislation. By these means, they seek to overawe the 
Representatives from the free States, whenever any ques- 
tion even remotely connected with slavery is about to be 
discussed ; and this, united with our strong reverence for 
the Union, has made our legislators shamefully cautious 
with regard to a subject, which peculiarly demands moral 
courage, and an abandonment of selfish considerations. 
If a member of Congress does stand his ground firmly, if 
he wants no preferment or profit, which the all powerful 
Southern influence can give, an effort is then made to 
intimidate him. The instances are numerous in which 
Northern men have been insulted and challenged by 
their Southern brethren, in consequence of the adverse 


influence they exerted over the measures of the Federal 
government. This turbulent evil exists only in our slave 
States ; and the peace of the country is committed to 
their hands whenever twentyjive votes in Congress can 
turn the scale in favor of war. 

The statesmen of the South have generally been 
planters. Their agricultural products must pay the 
merchants — foreign and domestic, — the ship owner, the 
manufacturer, — and all others concerned in the ex- 
change or manipulation of them. It is universally 
agreed that the production of the raw materials is the 
least profitable employment of capital. The planters 
have always entertained a jealous dislike of those engaged 
in the more profitable business of the manufacture and 
exchange of products ; particularly as the existence of 
slavery among them destroys ingenuity and enterprise, 
and compels them to employ the merchants, manufactur- 
ers, and sailors of the free States.* Hence there has ever 
been a tendency to check New England, whenever she 
appears to shoot up with vigorous rapidity. Whether 
she tries to live by hook or by crook, there is always an 
effort to restrain her within certain limited bounds. The 
embargo, passed without limitation of time, (a thing 
unprecedented,) was fastened upon the bosom of her 
commerce, until life was extinguished. The ostensible 
object of this measure, was to force Great Britain to 
terms, by distressing the West Indies for food. But 
while England commanded the seas, her colonies were 
not likely to starve ; and for the sake of this doubtful 
experiment, a certain and incalculable injury was in- 
flicted upon the Northern States. Seamen, and the 
numerous classes of mechanics connected with naviga- 
tion, were thrown out of employment, as suddenly as if 
they had been cast on a desert island by some convulsion 
of nature. Thousands of families were ruined by that 
ill-judged measure. Has any government a right to in- 
flict so much direct suffering on a very large portion of 
their own people, for the sake of an indirect and remote 
evil which may possibly be inflicted on an enemy ? 

* Virginia has great natural advantages for becoming a manufac- 
turing country ; but slavery, that does evil to all and good to none, 
produces a state of things which renders that impossible. 


It is true, agriculture suffered as well as commerce ; 
but agricultural products could be converted into food 
and clothing ; they would not decay like ships, nor would 
the producers be deprived of employment and sustenance, 
like those connected with navigation. 

Whether this step was intended to paralyze the 
North or not, it most suddenly and decidedly produced 
that effect. We were told that it was done to save our 
commerce from falling into the hands of the English and 
French. But our merchants earnestly entreated not to 
be thus saved. At the very moment of the embargo, 
underwriters were ready to insure at the usual rates. 

The non-intercourse was of the same general charac- 
ter as the embargo, but less offensive and injurious. 
The war crowned this course of policy ; and like the 
other measures, was carried by slave votes. It was em- 
phatically a Southern, not a national war. Individuals 
gained glory by it, and many of them nobly deserved it ; 
but the amount of benefit which the country derived 
from that war might be told in much fewer words than 
would enumerate the mischiefs it produced. 

The commercial States, particularly New England, 
have been frequently reproached for not being willing to 
go to war for the protection of their own interests ; and 
have been charged with pusillanimity and ingratitude for 
not warmly seconding those who were so zealous to de- 
fend their cause. Mr Hayne, during the great debate 
with Mr Webster, in the Senate, made use of this cus- 
tomary sarcasm. It is revived whenever the sectional 
spirit of the South, or party spirit in the North, prompts 
individuals to depreciate the talents and character of any 
eminent Northern man. The Southern States have even 
gone so far on this subject, as to assume the designa- 
tion of " patriot States " in contra-distinction to their 
northern neighbors — and this too, while Bunker Hill and 
Faneuil Hall are still standing ! It certainly was a pleas- 
ant idea to exchange the appellation of slave States for 
that of patriot States — it removed a word which in a 
republic is unseemly and inconsistent. 

Whatever may be thought of the justice and expedi- 
ency of the last war, it was certainly undertaken against 


the earnest wishes of the commercial States — two thirds 
of the Representatives from those States voted in oppo- 
sition to the measure. According to the spirit of the 
constitution it ought not to have passed unless there 
Were two thirds in favor of it. Why then should the 
South have insisted upon conferring a boon, which was 
not wanted ; and how happened it, that Yankees, with 
all their acknowledged shrewdness in money matters, 
could never to this day perceive how they were protected 
by it ? Yet New England is reproached with cowardice 
and ingratitude to her Southern benefactors ! If one 
man were to knock another down with a broad axe, in 
the attempt to brush a fly from his face, and then blame 
him for not being sufficiently thankful, it would exactly 
illustrate the relation between the North and the South 
on this subject. 

If the protection of commerce had been the real ob- 
ject of the war, would not some preparations have been 
made for a navy ? It was ever the policy of the slave 
States to destroy the navy. Vast conquests by land were 
contemplated, for the protection of Northern commerce. 
Whatever was intended, the work of destruction was 
done. The policy of the South stood for a while like & 
giant among ruins. New England received a blow, 
which crushed her energies, but could not annihilate 
them. Where the system of free labor prevails, and 
there is work of any kind to be done, there is a safety 
valve provided for any pressure. In such a community 
there is a vital and active principle, which cannot be 
long repressed. You may dam up the busy waters, but 
they will sweep away obstructions, or force a new channel. 

Immediately after the peace, when commerce again 
began to try her broken wings, the South took care to 
keep her down, by multiplying permanent embarrass- 
ments, in the shape of duties. The direct tax (which 
would have borne equally upon them, and which in the 
original compact was the equivalent for slave representa- 
tion), was forthwith repealed, and commerce was bur- 
dened with the payment of the national debt. The 
encouragement of manufactures, the consumption of 
domestic products, or living within ourselves, was then 



urged upon us. This was an ancient doctrine of the 
democratic party. Mr Jefferson was its strongest advo- 
cate. Did he think it likely to bear unfavorably upon 
" the nation of shop keepers and pedlers T 5# The 
Northerners adopted it with sincere views to economy, 
and more perfect independence. The duties were so 
adjusted as to embarrass commerce, and to guard the in- 
terests of a few in the North, who, from patriotism, party 
spirit, or private interest, had established manufac- 
tures on a considerable scale. This system of protec- 
tion opposed by the North, was begun in 1816 by 
Southern politicians, and enlarged and confirmed by them 
in 1824. It was carried nearly as much by Southern influ- 
ence, as was the war itself; and if the votes were placed 
side by side, there could not be a doubt of the identity of the 
interests and passions, which lay concealed under both. 
But enterprise, that moral perpetual-motion, overcomes all 
obstacles. Neat and flourishing villages rose in every 
valley of New England. The busy hum of machinery 
made music with her neglected waterfalls. All her 
streams, like the famous Pactolus, flowed with gold. From 
her discouraged and embarrassed commerce arose a 
greater blessing, apparently indestructible. Walls of 
brick and granite could not easily be overturned by the 
Southern lever, and left to decay, as the ship timber had 
done. Thus Mordecai was again seated in the king's 
gate, by means of the very system intended for his 
ruin. As soon as this state of things became percep- 
tible, the South commenced active hostility with man- 
ufactures. Doleful pictures of Southern desolation and 
decay were given, and all attributed to manufactures. 
The North was said to be plundering the South, while 
she, poor dame, was enriching her neighbors, and 
growing poor upon her extensive labors. (If this state- 
ment be true, how much gratitude do we owe the ne- 
groes ; for they do all the work that is done at the 
South. Their masters only serve to keep them in a 
condition, where they do not accomplish half as much 
as they otherwise would.) 

* Mr Jefferson's description of New England. 


New England seems to be like the poor lamb that tried 
to drink at the same stream with the wolf. " You make 
the water so muddy I can't drink," says the wolf: "I 
stand below you," replied the lamb, " and therefore it 
cannot be." " You did me an injury last year," retorted 
the wolf. " I was not born last year," rejoined the lamb. 
" Well, well," exclaimed the wolf, " then it was your 
father or mother. I'll eat you, at all events." 

The bitter discussions in Congress have grown out of 
this strong dislike to the free States ; and the crown of 
the whole policy is nullification. The single state of 
South Carolina has undertaken to abolish the revenues 
of the whole nation ; and threatened the Federal Gov- 
ernment with secession from the Union, in case the 
laws were enforced by any other means than through the 
judicial tribunals. 

" South Carolina has the privilege of excessive repre- 
sentation, and is released from the payment of direct taxes, 
which, according to the ratio of her representation, would 
be nearly double that of any non-slave-holding State ; 
it is therefore not a little extraordinary that she should 
complain of an unequal proportion of duties of imposts. 

" It is not a little extraordinary that this new pretension 
of South Carolina, the State which above all others en- 
joys this unrequited privilege of excessive representa- 
tion, released from all payment of the direct taxes, of 
which her proportion would be nearly double that of any 
non-slave-holding State, should proceed from that very 
complaint that she bears an unequal proportion of duties 
of imposts, which, by the constitution of the United 
States, are required to be uniform throughout the Union, 
Vermont, with a free population of two hundred and eighty 
thousand souls, has five representatives in the popular 
House of Congress, and seven Electors for President and 
Vice President. South Carolina, with a free population of 
less than two hundred and sixty thousand souls, sends nine 
members to the House of Representatives, and honors 
the Governor of Virginia with eleven votes for the office 
of President of the United States. If the rule of repre- 
sentation were the same for South Carolina and for 
Vermont, they would have the same number of Repre- 


sentatives in the House, and the same number of Eleo 
tors for the choice of President and Vice President. She 
has nearly double the number of both. 7 ' 

What would the South have ? They took the manage- 
ment at the very threshold of our government, and, 
excepting the rigidly just administration of Washington, 
they have kept it ever since. They claimed slave repre- 
sentation, and obtained it. For their convenience the 
revenues were raised by imposts instead of direct taxes, 
and thus they give little or nothing in exchange for their 
excessive representation. They have increased the slave 
States, till they have twentyfive votes in Congress — 
They have laid the embargo, and declared war- — They 
have controlled the expenditures of the nation — They 
have acquired Louisiana and Florida for an eternal slave 
market, and perchance for the manufactory of more 
slave States — They have given five presidents out of 
seven to the United States — And in their attack upon 
manufactures, they have gained Mr Clay's concession 
bill. " But all this availeth not, so long as Mordecai the 
Jew sitteth in the king's gate." The free States must 
be kept down. But change their policy as they will, free 
States cannot be kept down. There is but one way to 
ruin them ; and that is to make them slave States. If 
the South with all her power and skill cannot manage 
herself into prosperity, it is because the difficulty lies at 
her own doors, and she will not remove it. At one time 
her deserted villages were attributed to the undue patron- 
age bestowed upon settlers on the public lands ; at 
another, the tarifFis the cause of her desolation. Slavery, 
the real root of the evil, is carefully kept out of sight, as 
a u delicate subject," which must not be alluded to. It is 
a singular fact in the present age of the world, that delicate 
and indelicate subjects mean precisely the same thing. 

If any proof were wanted, that slaver?/ is the cause 
of all this discord, it is furnished by Eastern and West- 
ern Virginia. They belong to the same State, and are 
protected by the same laws ; but in the former, the slave- 
holding interest is very strong — while in the latter, it 
is scarcely anything. The result is, warfare, and con- 
tinual complaints, and threats of separation. There are 


no such contentions between the different sections of 
free States; simply because slaver}', the exciting cause of 
strife, does not exist among them. 

The constant threat of the slave-holding States is the 
dissolution of the Union ; and they have repeated it with 
all the earnestness of sincerity, though there are power- 
ful reasons why it would not be well for them to venture 
upon that untried state of being. In one respect only, 
are these threats of any consequence — they have famil- 
iarized the public mind with the subject of separation, 
and diminished the reverence, with which the free States 
have hitherto regarded the Union. The farewell advice 
of Washington operated like a spell upon the hearts and 
consciences of his countrymen. For many, many years 
after his death, it would almost have been deemed blas- 
phemy to speak of separation as a possible event. I 
would that it still continued so ! But it is now an every- 
day occurrence, to hear politicians, of all parties, con- 
jecturing what system would be pursued by different sec- 
tions of the country, in case of a dissolution of the Union. 
This evil is likewise chargeable upon slavery. The threats 
of separation have uniformly come from the slave-hold- 
ing States ; and on many important measures the free 
States have been awed into acquiescence by their respect 
for the Union. 

Mr Adams, in the able and manly report before alluded 
to, says : " It cannot be denied that in a community 
spreading over a large extent of territory, and politically 
founded upon the principles proclaimed in the declara- 
tion of independence, but differing so widely in the ele- 
ments of their social condition, that the inhabitants of 
one half the territory are wholly free, and those of the 
other half divided into masters and slaves, deep if not 
irreconcilable collisions of interest must abound. The 
question whether such a community can exist under 
one common government, is a subject of profound, phi- 
losophical speculation in theory. Whether it can con- 
tinue long to exist, is a question to be solved only by the 
experiment now making by the people of this Union, un- 
der that national compact, the constitution of the Unit- 
ed States." 



The admission of Missouri into the Union is another 
clear illustration of the slave-holding power. That 
contest was marked by the same violence and the same 
threats as have characterized nullification. On both 
occasions the planters were pitted against the commer- 
cial and manufacturing sections of the country. On both 
occasions the democracy of the North was, by one 
means or another, induced to throw its strength upon 
the Southern lever, to increase its already prodigious 
power. On both, and on all occasions, some little support 
has been given to Northern principles in Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, and North Carolina ; because in portions of those 
States there is a considerable commercial interest, and 
some encouragement of free labor. So true it is, in the 
minutest details, that slavery and freedom are always 
arrayed in opposition to each other. 

At the time of the Missouri question, the pestiferous 
effects of slavery had become too obvious to escape the 
observation of the most superficial statesman. The 
new free States admitted into the Union enjoyed tenfold 
prosperity compared with the new slave States. Give a 
free laborer a barren rock, and he will soon cover it 
with vegetation ; while the slave and his task-master, 
would change the garden of Eden to a desert. 

But Missouri must be admitted as a slave State, for 
two strong reasons. First, that the planters might per- 
petuate their predominant influence by adding to the 
slave representation, — the pow r er of which is always 
concentrated against the interests of the free States. — 
Second, that a new market might be opened for their 
surplus slaves. It is lamentable to think that two votes 
in favor of Missouri slavery, were given by Massachu- 
setts men ; and that those two votes would have turned 
the scale. The planters loudly threatened to dissolve 
the Union, if slavery were not extended beyond the Mis- 
sissippi. If the Union cannot be preserved without 
crime, it is an eternal truth that nothing good can be 
preserved by crime. The immense territories of Louis- 
iana, Arkansas, and Florida are very likely to be formed 
into slave States ; and every new vote on this side, places 
the free States more and more at the mercy of the South- 


and gives a renewed and apparently interminable lease 
to the duration of slavery. 

The purchase or the conquest of the Texas, is a favor- 
ite scheme with Southerners, because it would occasion 
such an inexhaustible demand for slaves. A gentleman 
in the Virginia convention thought the acquisition of the 
Texas so certain, that he made calculations upon the in- 
creased value of negroes. We have reason to thank God 
that the jealousy of the Mexican government places a 
barrier in that direction. 

The existence of slavery among us prevents the recog- 
nition of Haytian independence. That republic is fast 
increasing in wealth, intelligence and refinement.^- Her 
commerce is valuable to us and might become much 
more so. But our Northern representatives have never 
even made an effort to have her independence acknow- 
ledged, because a colored ambassador would be so disa- 
greeable to our prejudices. 

Few are aware of the extent of sectional dislike in this 
country ; and I would not speak of it, if I thought it pos- 
sible to add to it. The late John Taylor, a man of great 
natural talent, wrote a book on the agriculture of Vir- 
ginia, in which he acknowledges impoverishment, but 
attributes it all to the mismanagement of overseers. In 
this work, Mr Taylor has embodied more of the genuine 
spirit, the ethics and politics, of planters, than any other 
man ; excepting perhaps, John Randolph in his speeches. 
He treats merchants, capitalists, bankers, and all other 
people not planters, as so many robbers, who live by 
plundering the slave owner, apparently forgetting by what 
plunder they themselves live. 

Mr Jefferson and other eminent men from the South, 
have occasionally betrayed the same strong prejudices ; 
but they were more guarded, lest the democracy of the 
North should be undeceived, and their votes lost. Mr 
Taylor's book is in high repute in the Southern States, and 
its sentiments widely echoed ; but it is little known here. 

A year or two since, I received a letter from a pub- 
lisher who largely supplies the Southern market, in which 
he assured me that no book from the North would sell at 


the South, unless the source from which it came, were 
carefully concealed ! Yet New England has always 
yielded to Southern policy in preference to uniting with 
the Middle States, with which she has in most respects, 
a congeniality of interests and habits. It has been the 
constant policy of the slave States to prevent the free 
States from acting together. 

Who does not see that the American people are walk- 
ing over a subterranean fire, the flames of which are fed 
by slavery 1 

The South no doubt gave her influence to General 
Jackson, from the conviction that a slave owner would 
support the slave-holding interest. The Proclamation 
against the nullifiers, which has given the President such 
sudden popularity at the North, has of course offended 
them. No person has a right to say that Proclamation 
is insincere. It will be extraordinary if a slave owner 
does in reality depart from the uniform system of 
his brethren. In the President's last Message, it is 
maintained that the wealthy land holders, that is, the 
planters, are the best part of the population ; — it admits 
that the laws for raising of revenue by imposts have been 
in their operation oppressive to the South ; — it recom- 
mends a gradual withdrawing of protection from manu- 
factures ; — it advises that the public lands shall cease to 
be a source of revenue, as soon as practicable — that 
they be sold to settlers — and in a convenient time the 
disposal of the soil be surrendered to the States respec- 
tively in which it lies ; — lastly, the Message tends to 
discourage future appropriations of public money for 
purposes of internal improvement. 

Every one of these items is a concession to the slave- 
holding policy. If the public lands are taken from the 
nation, and given to the States in which the soil lies, 
who will get the largest share ? That best part of the 
population called planters. 

The Proclamation and the Message are very unlike 
each other. Perhaps South Carolina is to obtain her 
own will by a route more certain, though more circuitous, 
than open rebellion. Time will show. 



It is not madness 
That I have utter M : — - For love of grace, 
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, 
That not your trespass but my madness speaks i 
It will bat skin and film the ulcerous place ; 
While rank corruption, mining all within, 
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to Heaven ; 
Repent what 's past ; avoid what is to come ; 
And do not spread the compost on the weeds, 
To make them ranker. Hamlet, Act III. Scene 3d* 

When doctrines meet with general approbation, 

It is not heresy, but reformation. Garrick. 

So much excitement prevails with regard to these two 
societies at present, that it will be difficult to present a 
view of them which will be perfectly satisfactory to all. 
I shall say what appears to me, to be candid and true, 
without any anxiety as to whom it may please, and whom 
it may displease. I need not say that I have a decided 
predilection, because it has been sufficiently betrayed in 
the preceding pages ; and I allude to it for the sake of 
perfect sincerity, rather than from any idea that my 
opinion is important. 

The American Colonization Society was organized a 
little more than sixteen years ago at the city of Washing- 
ton, chosen as the most central place in the Union. — 
Auxiliary institutions have since been formed in almost 
every part of the country ; and nearly all the distinguish- 
ed men belong to it. The doing away of slavery in the 
United States, by gradually removing all the blacks to 
Africa, has been generally supposed to be its object. — 
The project at first excited some jealousy in the South- 
ern States ; and the Society in order to allay this, were 
anxious to make all possible concessions to slave owners, 
in their Addresses, Reports, &c. In Mr Clay's speech, 
printed in the first Annual Report of the Society, he said^ 



" It is far from the intention of this Society to affect, in 
any manner, the tenure by which a certain species of 
property is held. I am myself a slave-holder, and I con- 
sider that kind of property as inviolable as any other in 
the country. I would resist encroachment upon it as 
soon, and with as much firmness as I would upon any 
other property that I hold. Nor am I prepared to go as 
far as the gentleman, who has just spoken (Mr Mercer) 
in saying that I would emancipate my slaves, if the 
means were provided of sending them from the country. " 

At the same meeting Mr Randolph said, " He thought 
it necessary, being himself a slave-holder, to show that 
so far from being in the smallest degree connected with 
the abolition of slavery, the proposed Society would prove 
one of the greatest securities to enable the master to keep 
in possession his own property " 

In Mr Clay's speech, in the second Annual Report, he 
declares : " It is not proposed to deliberate upon, or con- 
sider at all, any question of emancipation, or any that is 
connected with the abolition of slavery. On this condi- 
tion alone gentlemen from the South and West can be 
expected to cooperate. On this condition only, I have 
myself attended." 

In the seventh Annual Report it is said, (( An effort 
for the benefit of the blacks, in which all parts of the 
country can unite, of course must not have the abolition 
of slavery for its immediate object ; nor may it aim di- 
rectly at the instruction of the blacks" 

Mr Archer of Virginia, fifteenth Annual Report, says, 
" The object of the Society, if I understand it aright, in- 
volves no intrusion on property, nor even upon prejudice." 

In the speech of James S. Green, Esq. he says : " This 
Society have ever disavowed, and they do yet disavow 
that their object is the emancipation of slaves. They 
have no wish if they could to interfere in the smallest 
degree with what they deem the most interesting and 
fearful subject, which can be pressed upon the American 
public. There is no people that treat their slaves with 
so much kindness and so little cruelty." 

In almost every address delivered before the Society 
similar expressions occur. — On the propriety of discuss- 
ing the evils of slavery, without bitterness and without 


fear, good men may differ in opinion ; though I think 
the time is fast coming, when they will all agree. — 
But by assuming the ground implied in the above re- 
marks, the Colonization Society have fallen into the 
habit of glossing over the enormities of the slave system ; 
at least, it so appears to me. In their constitution they 
have pledged themselves not to speak, write, or do any- 
thing to offend the Southerners ; and as there is no pos- 
sible way of making the truth pleasant to those who do 
not love it, the Society must perforce keep the truth out 
of sight. In many of their publications, I have thought 
I discovered a lurking tendency to palliate slavery ; or, 
at least to make the best of it. They often bring to my 
mind the words of Hamlet ; 

" Forgive me this my virtue ; 
For in the fatness of these pursy times, 
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg ; 
Yea, curb and woo, for leave to do him good/' 

Thus in an Address delivered March, 1833, we are 
told, " It ought never to be forgotten that the slave-trade 
between Africa and America, had its origin in a com- 
passionate endeavor to relieve, by the substitution of 
negro labor, the toils endured by native Indians. It was 
the simulated form of mercy that piloted the first slave- 
ship across the Atlantic." 

I am aware that Las Cases used this argument ; but 
it was less unbecoming in him than it is in a philanthro- 
pist of the present day. The speaker does indeed say 
that " the ' infinite of agonies' and the infinite of crime, 
since suffered and committed, proves that mercy cannot ex- 
ist in opposition to justice." I can hardly realize what sort 
of a conscience it must be, that needed the demonstration. 

The plain truth was, the Spaniards were in a hurry 
for gold ; they overworked the native Indians, who 
were inconsiderate enough to die in very inconvenient 
numbers ; but the gold must be had, and that quickly ; 
and so the Africans were forced to come and die in com- 
pany with the Indians. And in the nineteenth century, 
we are told it is our duty not to forget that this was a 
41 simulated form of mercy" ! A dissimulated form would 
liave been the better expression. 

If we may believe slave owners, the whole system, from 


beginning to end, is a matter of mercy. They have 
described the Middle Passage, with its gags, fetters, 
and thumbscrews, as " the happiest period of a negro's 
life"; they say they do the slaves a great charity in 
bringing them from barbarous Africa to a civilized and 
Christian country; and on the plantation, under the 
whip of the driver, the negroes are so happy, that a West 
India planter publicly declared he could not look upon 
them, without wishing to be himself a slave. 

In the speech above referred to, we are told, that as to 
any political interference, " the slave States are foreign 
States. We can alienate their feelings until they be- 
come foreign enemies ; or, on the other hand, we can 
conciliate them until they become allies and auxiliaries 
in the sacred cause of emancipation." 

But so long as the South insist that slavery is unavoid- 
able, and say they will not tolerate any schemes tending 
to its abolition — and so long as the North take the ne- 
cessity of slavery for an unalterable truth, and put down 
any discussions, however mild and candid, which tend to 
show that it may be done away with safety — so long as 
we thus strengthen each other's hands in evil, what re- 
mote hope is there of emancipation ? If by political 
interference is meant hostile interference, or even a desire 
to promote insurrection, I should at once pronounce it to 
be most wicked ; but if by w political interference is meant 
the liberty to investigate this subject, as other subjects 
are investigated — to inquire into what has been done, 
and what may be done — I say it is our sacred duty to 
do it. To enlighten public opinion is the best way that 
has yet been discovered for the removal of national evils ; 
and slavery is certainly a national evil. 

The Southern States, according to their own evidence^ 
are impoverished by it ; a great amount of wretchedness 
and crime inevitably follows in its train ; the prosperity 
of the North is continually checked by it ; it promotes 
feelings of rivalry between the States ; it separates our 
interests ; makes our councils discordant ; threatens the 
destruction of our government ; and disgraces us in the 
eyes of the world. 1 have often heard Americans who 
had been abroad, declare that nothing embarrassed 


them so much as being questioned about our slaves ; and 
that nothing was so mortifying as to have the pictures of 
runaway negroes pointed at in the newspapers of this re- 
public. La Fayette, with all his admiration for our insti- 
tutions, can never speak of the subject without regret 
and shame. 

Now a common evil certainly implies a common right 
to remedy ; and where is the remedy to be found, if the 
South in all their speeches and writings repeat that 
slavery must exist — if the Colonization Society re-echo, 
in all their Addresses and Reports, that there is no help 
for the evil, and it is very wicked to hint that there is — 
and if public opinion here brands every body as a fanatic 
and madman, who wishes to inquire what can be done ? 
The supineness of New England on this subject, reminds 
me of the man who being asked to work at the pump, be- 
cause the vessel was going down, answered, " I am only 
a passenger." 

An error often and urgently repeated is apt to receive 
the sanction of truth ; and so it is in this case. The 
public take it for granted that slavery is a " lamentable 
necessity" Nevertheless there is a way to effect its cure, 
if we all join sincerely, earnestly, and kindly in the work ; 
but if we expend our energies in palliating the evil, or 
mourning over its hopelessness, or quarreling about who 
is the most to blame for it, the vessel, — crew, passengers, 
and all, — will go down together. 

I object to the Colonization Society, because it tends 
to put public opinion asleep, on a subject where it needs 
to be wide awake. 

The address above alluded to, does indeed inform us 
of one thing which we are at liberty to do : " We must 
go to the master and adjure him, by all the sacred rights 
of humanity, by all the laws of natural justice, by his 
dread responsibilities, — which in the economy of Provi- 
dence, are always coextensive and commensurate with 
power, — to raise the slave out of his abyss of degrada- 
tion, to give him a participation in the benefits of mortal 
existence, and to make him a member of the intellectual 
and moral world, from which he, and his fathers, for so 
many generations, have been exiled." The practical 


utility of such a plan needs no comment. Slave owners 
will smile when they read it. 

I will for a moment glance at what many suppose is 
still the intention of the Colonization Society, viz. grad- 
ually to remove all the blacks in the United States. The 
Society has been in operation more than fifteen years, 
during which it has transported between two and three 
thousand free people of color. There are in the United 
States two million of slaves, and three hundred thousand 
free blacks ; and their numbers are increasing at the 
rate of seventy thousand annually. While the Society 
have removed less than three thousand, — five hundred 
thousand have been born. While one hundred and fifty 
free blacks have been sent to Africa in a year, two hun- 
dred slaves have been born in a day. To keep the evil 
just where it is, seventy thousand a year must be trans- 
ported. How many ships, and how many millions of 
money, would it require to do this? It would cost 
3,500,000 dollars a year, to provide for the safety of 
our Southern brethren in this way ! To use the lan- 
guage of Mr Hayne, it would " bankrupt the treasury 
of the world" to execute the scheme. And if such a 
great number could be removed annually, how would 
the poor fellows subsist ? Famines have already been 
produced, even by the few that have been sent. What 
would be the result of landing several thousand destitute 
beings, even on the most fertile of our own cultivated 
shores 1 

And why should they be removed ? Labor is greatly 
needed, and we are glad to give good wages for it. We 
encourage emigration from all parts of the world ; why 
is it not good policy, as well as good feeling, to improve 
the colored people, and pay them for the use of their 
faculties ? For centuries to come, the means of suste- 
nance in this vast country must be much greater than the 
population ; then why should we drive away people, whose 
services may be most useful ? If the moral cultivation of 
negroes received the attention it ought, thousands and 
thousands would at the present moment be gladly taken 
up in families, factories, &,c. And, like other men, they 
ought to be allowed to fit themselves for more important 
usefulness, as far and as fast as they can. 


There will, in all human probability, never be any de- 
crease in the black population of the United States. 
Here they are, and here they must remain, in very large 
numbers, do what we will. We may at once agree to 
live together in mutual good will, and perform a mutual 
use to each other — or we may go on, increasing tyranny 
on one side, and jealousy and revenge on the other, until 
the fearful elements complete their work of destruction, 
and something better than this sinful republic rises on the 
ruins. Oh, how earnestly do 1 wish that we may choose 
the holier and safer path ! 

To transport the blacks in such annual numbers as 
has hitherto been done, cannot have any beneficial effect 
upon the present state of things. It is Dame Partington 
with her pail mopping up the rushing waters of the At- 
lantic ! So far as this gradual removal has any effect, it 
tends to keep up the price of slaves in the market, and 
thus perpetuate the system. A writer in the Kentucky 
Luminary, speaking of colonization, uses the following 
argument : " None are obliged to follow our example ; 
and those who do not, ivill find the value of their ne- 
groes increased by the departure of oursP 

If the value of slaves is kept up, it will be a strong 
temptation to smuggle in the commodity ; and thus 
while one vessel carries them out from America, another 
will be bringing them in from Africa. This would be 
like dipping up the waters of Chesapeake Bay into bar- 
rels, conveying it across the Atlantic, and emptying it 
into the Mediterranean : the Chesapeake would remain 
as full as ever, and by the time the vessel returned, wind 
and waves would have brought the same water back 

Slave owners have never yet, in any part of the world, 
been known to favor, as a body, any scheme, which could 
ultimately tend to abolish slavery ; yet in this country, 
they belong to the Colonization Society in large num- 
bers, and agree to pour from their State treasuries into 
its funds. Individuals object to it, it is true ; but the 
scheme is very generally favored in the slave States. 

The following extract from Mr Wood's speech in the 
Legislature of Virginia, will show upon what ground the 

136 colonization: society, 

owners of slaves are willing to sanction any schemes of 
benevolence. The " Colonization Society may be a part 
of the grand system of the Ruler of the Universe, to 
provide for the transfer of negroes to their mother coun- 
try. Their introduction into this land may have been 
one of the inscrutable ways of Providence to confer bless- 
ings upon that race — it may have been decreed that 
they shall be the means of conveying to the minds of 
their benighted countrymen, the blessing of religious 
and civil liberty. But I fear there is little ground to be- 
lieve the means have yet been created to effect so glori- 
ous a result, or that the present race of slaves are to be 
benefited by such a removal. I shall trust that many 
of them may be carried to the southwestern States as 
slaves. Should this door be closed, how can Virginia get 
rid of so large a number as are now annually deported 
to the different States and Territories where slaves are 
wanted ? Can the gentlemen show us how from twelve 
thousand to twenty thousand can be annually carried to 

Yet ^notwithstanding such numbers of mothers and 
children are yearly sent from a single State, " separately 
or in lots," to supply the demands of the internal slave 
trade, Mr Hayne, speaking of freeing these people and 
sending them away, says : " It is wholly irreconcilable 
with our notions of humanity to tear asunder the tender 
ties, which they had formed among us, to gratify the 
feelings of a false philanthropy " ! 

As for the removal of blacks from this country, the 
real fact is this ; the slave States are very desirous to get 
rid of their troublesome surplus of colored population, 
and they are willing that we should help to pay for the 
transportation. A double purpose is served by this ; for 
the active benevolence which is eager to work in the 
cause, is thus turned into a harmless and convenient 
channel. Neither the planters nor the Colonization So- 
ciety, seem to ask what right we have to remove people 
from the places where they have been born and brought 
up, — where they have a home, which, however miser- 
able, is still their home, — and where their relatives and 
acquaintances all reside. Africa is no more their native 


country than England is ours,* — nay, it is less so, be- 
cause there is no community of language or habits ; — 
besides, we cannot say to them, as Gilpin said to his 
horse, " ; Twas for your pleasure you came here, you 
shall go back for mine." 

In the Virginia Debate of 1832 it was agreed that 
very few of the free colored people would be willing to 
go to Africa ; and this is proved by several petitions 
from them, praying for leave to remain. One of the 
Virginian legislators said, " either moral ox physical force 
must be used to compel them to go ;'" some of them ad- 
vised immediate coercion ; others recommended persua- 
sion first, until their numbers were thinned, and coercion 
afterward. I believe the resolution finally passed the 
House without any proviso of this sort ; and I mention 
it merely to show that it was generally supposed the col- 
ored people would be unwilling to go. 

The planters are resolved to drive the free blacks 
away ; and it is another evil of the Colonization Society 
that their funds and their influence cooperate with them in 
this project. They do not indeed thrust the free negroes 
off, at the point of the bayonet ; but they make their laws, 
and customs so very unequal and oppressive, that the poor 
fellows are surrounded by raging fires on every side, and 
must leap into the Atlantic for safety. In slave ethics I 
suppose this is called " moral force." If the slave popu- 
lation is left to its own natural increase, the crisis will 
soon come ; for labor will be so very cheap that slavery 
will not be for the interest of the whites. Why should 
we retard this crisis ? 

In the next place, many of the Colonizationists, (I do 
not suppose it applies to all) are averse to giving the 
blacks a good education ; and they are not friendly to 
the establishment of schools and colleges for that pur- 
pose. Now I would ask any candid person why colored 

*At the close of the last war, General Jackson issued a. procla- 
mation to the colored people of the South, in which he says ; 
" I knew that you loved the land of your nativity, and that, like 
ourselves, you had to defend all that is dear to man. But you sur^ 
pass my hopes. I have found in you, united to those qualities, that 
noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds J' 



children should not be educated 1 Some say, it will 
raise them above their situation ; I answer, it will raise 
them in their situation — not above it. When a High 
School for white girls was first talked of in this city, 
several of the wealthy class objected to it ; because, said 
they, " if everybody is educated, we shall have no ser- 
vants." This argument is based on selfishness, and 
therefore cannot stand. If carried into operation, the 
welfare of many would be sacrificed to the convenience 
of a few. We might as well protest against the sun- 
light, for the benefit of lamp-oil merchants. Of all mo- 
nopolies, a monopoly of knowledge is the worst. Let it 
be as active as the ocean — as free as the wind — as 
universal as the sun-beams ! Lord Brougham said very 
wisely, " If the higher classes are afraid of being left in 
the rear, they likewise must hasten onward." 

With our firm belief in the natural inferiority of ne- 
groes, it is strange we should be so much afraid that 
knowledge will elevate them quite too high for our con- 
venience. In the march of improvement, we are sev- 
eral centuries in advance ; and if, with this obstacle 
at the very beginning, they can outstrip us, why then, 
in the name of justice, let them go ahead ! Nay, 
give them three cheers as they pass. If any nation, 
Or any class of men, can obtain intellectual preem- 
inence, it is a sure sign they deserve it ; and by this 
republican rule the condition of the world will be regu- 
lated as surely as the waters find their level. 

Besides, like all selfish policy, this is not true [policy. 
The more useful knowledge a person has, the better he ful- 
fils his duties in any station ; and there is no kind of know- 
ledge, high or low, which may not be brought into use. 

But it has been said, that information will make the 
blacks discontented ; because, if ever so learned, they 
will not be allowed to sit at the white man's table, or 
marry the white man's daughter. 

In relation to this question, I would ask, " Is there 
anybody so high, that they do not see others above 
them t" The working classes of this country have no 
social communication with the aristocracy. Every day 
of my life I see people who can dress better, and live in 



better houses, than I can afford. There are many indi- 
viduals who would not choose to make my acquaintance, 
because I am not of their caste — but I should speak a 
great untruth, if I said this made me discontented. 
They have their path and I have mine ; I am happy in 
my own way, and am willing they should be happy in 
theirs. If asked whether what little knowledge I have 
produces discontent, I should answer, that it made me 
happier, infinitely happier, than I could be without it. 

Under every form of government, there will be distinct 
classes of society, which have only occasional and tran- 
sient communication with each other ; and the colored 
people, whether educated or not, will form one of these 
classes. By giving them means of information, we in- 
crease their happiness, and make them better members 
of society. I have often heard it said that there was a 
disproportionate number of crimes committed by the 
colored people in this State. The same thing is true of 
the first generation of Irish emigrants ; but we univer- 
sally attribute it to their ignorance, and agree that the 
only remedy is to give their children as good an educa- 
tion as possible. If the policy is wise in one instance, 
why would it not be so in the other ? 

As for the possibility of social intercourse between 
the different colored races, i* have not the slightest ob- 
jection to it, provided they were equally virtuous, and 
equally intelligent ; but I do not wish to war with the 
prejudices of others ; I am willing that all, who consult 
their consciences, should keep them as long as ever they 
can. One thing is certain, the blacks will never come 
into your houses, unless you ash them ; and you need 
not ask them unless you choose. They are very far 
from being intrusive in this respect. 

With regard to marrying your daughters, I believe 
the feeling in opposition to such unions is quite as strong 
among the colored class, as it is among white people. — 
While the prejudice exists, such instances must be ex- 
ceedingly rare, because the consequence is degradation 
in society. Believe me, you may safely trust to anything 
that depends on the pride and selfishness of unregene- 
rated human nature. 


Perhaps, a hundred years hence, some negro Roths- 
child may come from Hayti, with his seventy millions of 
pounds, and persuade some white woman to sacrifice her- ' 
self to him — Stranger things than this do happen every 
year. — But before that century has passed away, I ap- 
prehend there will be a sufficient number of well-informed 
and elegant colored women in the world, to meet the de- 
mands of colored patricians. Let the sons and daughters 
of Africa both be educated, and then they will be fit for 
each other. They will not be forced to make war upon 
their white neighbors for wives ; nor will they, if they 
have intelligent women of their own, see anything so 
very desirable in the project. Shall we keep this class 
of people in everlasting degradation, for fear one of their 
descendants may marry our great-great-great-great-grand- 
child ? 

While the prejudice exists, such unions cannot take 
place ; and when the prejudice is melted away, they 
will cease to be a degradation, and of course cease to be 
an evil. 

My third and greatest objection to the Colonization 
Society is, that its members write and speak, both in 
public and private, as if the prejudice against skins 
darker colored than our own, was a fixed and unaltera- 
ble law of our nature, which cannot possibly be changed. 
The very existence of the Society is owing to this pre- 
judice : for if we could make all the colored people 
white, or if they could be viewed as impartially as if 
they were white, what would be left for the Colonization 
Society to do? Under such circumstances, they would 
have a fair chance to rise in their moral and intellectual 
character, and we should be glad to have them remain 
among us, to give their energies for our money, as the 
Irish, the Dutch, and people from all parts of the world 
are now doing. 

I am aware that some of the Colonizationists make 
large professions on this subject ; but nevertheless we are 
constantly told by this Society, that people of color must 
be removed, not only because they are in our way, but 
because they must always be in a state of degradation 
here — that they never can have all the rights and privi- 


leges of citizens — and all this is because the prejudice 
is so great. 

" The Managers consider it clear that causes exist 
and are operating to prevent their (the blacks) im- 
provement and elevation to any considerable extent as a 
class, in this country, which are fixed, not only beyond 
the control of the friends of humanity, but of any human 
power. Christianity will not do for them here, what it 
will do for them in Africa. This is not the fault of the 
colored man, nor Christianity ; but an ordination of 
Providence, and no more to be changed than the laws of 
Nature !" — Last Annual Report of American Coloni- 
zation Society. 

" The habits, the feelings, all the prejudices of soci- 
ety — prejudices which neither refinement, nor argu- 
ment, nor education, nor religion itself, can sub- 
due — mark the people of color, whether bond or free, 
as the subjects of a degradation inevitable and incurable. 
The African in this country belongs by birth to the very 
lowest station in society ; and from that station he 
can never rtse, be his talent s , his enterprise, his 
virtues what they may. They constitute a class by them- 
selves — a class out of which no individual can be ele- 
vated, and below which none can be depressed. " — Af- 
rican Repository , vol. iv. pp. 118, 119. 

This is shaking hands with iniquity, and covering sin 
with a silver veil. Our prejudice against the blacks is 
founded in sheer pride ; and it originates in the circum- 
stance that people of their color only, are universally 
allowed to be slaves. We made slavery, and slavery 
makes the prejudice. No Christian, who questions his 
own conscience, can justify himself in indulging the feel- 
ing. The removal of this prejudice is not a matter of 
opinion — it is a matter of duty. We have no right to 
palliate a feeling, sinful in itself, and highly injurious to 
a large number of our fellow beings. Let us no longer 
act upon the narrow-minded idea, that we must always 
continue to do wrong, because we have so long been in 
the habit of doing it. That there is no necessity for the 
prejudice is shown by facts. In England, it exists to a 
much less degree than it does here. If a respectable col- 



ored person enters a church there, the pews are readily- 
opened to him ; if he appears at an inn, room is made for 
him at the table, and no laughter, or winking, reminds 
him that he belongs to an outcast race. A highly re- 
spectable English gentleman residing in this country has 
often remarked that nothing filled him with such utter 
astonishment as our prejudice with regard to color. — 
There is now in old England a negro, with whose name, 
parentage, and history, I am well acquainted, who was 
sold into West Indian slavery by his New England mas- 
ter 3 * (I know his name.) The unfortunate negro became 
free by the kindness of an individual, and has now a 
handsome little property, and the command of a vessel. 
He must take care not to come into the ports of our 
Southern republics ! — The anecdote of Prince Saunders 
is well known ; but it will bear repeating. He called 
upon an American family, then residing in London. — 
The fashionable breakfast hour was very late, and the 
family were still seated at the table. The lady fidgetted 
between the contending claims of politeness and preju- 
dice. At last, when all but herself had risen from the 
table, she said, as if struck by a sudden thought, " Mr 
Saunders, I forgot to ask if you had breakfasted." " I 
thank you, madam," replied the colored gentleman ; 
" but I have engaged to breakfast with the Prince Re- 
gent this morning." 

Mr Wilberforce and Mr Brougham have often been 
seen in the streets of London, walking arm in arm with 
people of color. The same thing is true of Brissot, La 
Fayette, and several other distinguished Frenchmen. — 
In this city, I never but once saw such an instance : 
When the Philadelphia company were here last summer, 
I met one of the officers walking arm in arm with a fine 
looking black musician. The circumstance gave me a 
good deal of respect for the white man ; for I thought 
he must have kind feelings and correct principles, thus 
fearlessly to throw off a worse than idle prejudice. 

In Brazil, people of color are lawyers, clergymen, 
merchants and military officers ; and in the Portuguese, 
as well as the Spanish settlements, intermarriages bring 
no degradation. On the shores of the Levant, some of 


the wealthiest merchants are black. If we were accus- 
tomed to see intelligent and polished negroes, the preju- 
dice would soon disappear. There is certainly no law of 
our nature which makes a dark color repugnant to our 
feelings. We admire the swarthy beauties of Spain ; 
and the finest forms of statuary are often preferred in 
bronze. If the whole world were allowed to vote on the 
question, there would probably be a plurality in favor of 
complexions decidedly dark. Everybody knows how 
much the Africans were amused at the sight of Mungo 
Park, and what an ugly misfortune they considered his 
pale color, prominent nose, and thin lips. 

Ought we to be called Christians, if we allow a preju- 
dice so absurd to prevent the improvement of a large 
portion of the human race, and interfere with what all 
civilized nations consider the most common rights of 
mankind ? It cannot be that my enlightened and gen- 
erous countrymen will sanction anything so narrow- 
minded and so selfish. 

Having found much fault with the Colonization Soci- 
ety, it is pleasant to believe that one portion of their 
enterprise affords a distant prospect of doing more good 
than evil. They now principally seek to direct the pub- 
lic attention to the founding of a Colony in Africa; and 
this may prove beneficial in process of time. If the col- 
ored emigrants were educated before they went there, 
such a Colony would tend slowly, but certainly, to 
enlighten Africa, to raise the character of the negroes, 
to strengthen the increasing liberality of public opinion, 
and to check the diabolical slave trade. If the Coloni- 
zation ists will work zealously and judiciously in this de- 
partment, pretend to do nothing more, and let others 
work in another and more efficient way, they will deserve 
the thanks of the country ; but while it is believed that 
they do all the good which can be done in this important 
cause, they will do no more harm in America, than they 
can atone for in Africa. 

Very different pictures are drawn of Liberia ; one 
party represents it as thriving beyond description, the 
other insists that it will soon fall into ruin. It is but can- 
did to suppose that the colony is going on as well as 


could possibly be expected, when we consider that the 
emigrants are almost universally ignorant and vicious, 
without property, and without habits of industry or en- 
terprise. The colored people in our slave States must, 
almost without exception, be destitute of information ; 
and in choosing negroes to send away, the masters 
would be very apt to select the most helpless and the 
most refractory. Hence the superintendents of Liberia 
have made reiterated complaints of being flooded with 
ship-loads of " vagrants." These causes are powerful 
drawbacks. But the negroes in Liberia have schools 
and churches, and they have freedom, which, wherever 
it exists, is always striving to work its upward way. 

There is a palpable contradiction in some of the 
statements of this Society. 

" We are told that the Colonization Society is to civ- 
ilize and evangelize Africa. ' Each emigrant,' says 
Henry Clay, the ablest advocate which the Society has 
yet found, ' is a missionary , carrying with him creden- 
tials in the holy cause of civilization, religion and free 
institutions ! !' " 

" Who are these emigrants — these missionaries ?" 
" The Free people of color. ' They, and they only,' 
says the African Repository, the Society's organ, ? are 
qualified for colonizing Africa.' " 

" What are their qualifications ? Let the Society 
answer in its own words : 

" ' Free blacks are a greater nuisance than even slaves 
themselves.' " — African Repository , vol. ii. p. 328. 

" *■ A horde of miserable people — the objects of uni- 
versal suspicion — subsisting by plunder.' " — C. F. 

" c An anomalous race of beings, the most debased 
upon earth.' " — African Repository , vol. vii. p. 230. 

" l Of all classes of our population the most vicious is 
that of the free colored. ' " — Tenth Annual Report of 
Colonization Society. 

An Education Society has been formed in connection 
with the Colonization Society, and their complaint is 
principally that they cannot find proper subjects for in* 
struction, Why cannot such subjects be found 1 Sim- 


ply because our ferocious prejudices compel the colored 
children to grow up in ignorance and vicious compan- 
ionship, and when we seek to educate them, we find their 
minds closed against the genial influence of knowledge. 
When I heard of the Education Society, I did hope 
to find one instance of sincere, thorough, disinterested 
good will for the blacks. But in the constitution of that 
Society, I again find the selfish principle predominant. 
They pledge themselves to educate no colored persons, 
unless they are solemnly bound to quit the country. 
The abolitionists are told that they must wait till the 
slaves are more fit for freedom. But if this system is 
pursued, when are they to be more fit for freedom ? 
Never — never — to the end of time. 

Whatever other good the Colonization Society may do, 
it seems to me evident that they do not produce any 
beneficial effect on the condition of colored people in 
America ; and indirectly they produce much evil. 

In a body so numerous as the Colonization Society, 
there is, of course, a great variety of character and opin- 
ions. I presume that many among them believe the ulti- 
mate tendency of the Society to be very different from 
what it really is. Some slave owners encourage it, 
because they think it cannot decrease slavery, and will 
keep back the inconvenient crisis when free labor will be 
cheaper than slave labor ; others of the same class join 
it because they really want to do some act of kindness 
to the unfortunate African race, and all the country in- 
sists upon it that this is the only way ; some politicians 
in the free States countenance it from similar motives, 
and because less cautious measures might occasion a 
loss of Southern votes and influence ; the time-serving 
class — so numerous in every community, — who are 
always ready to flatter existing prejudices, and sail 
smoothly along the current of popular favor, join it, of 
course ; but I am willing to believe that the largest pro- 
portion belong to it, because they have compassionate 
hearts, are fearful of injuring their Southern breth- 
ren, and really think there is no other way of doing so 
much good to the negroes. With this last mentioned 
class, I sympathize in feeling, but differ in opinion. 



The Anti-Slavery Society was formed in January, 
1832. Its objects are distinctly stated in the second 
Article of their constitution, which is as follows : 

" Art. 2. The objects of the Society shall be, to endeavor, 
by all means sanctioned by law, humanity and religion, to ef- 
fect the abolition of slavery in the United States ; to improve 
the character and condition of the free people of color, to in- 
form and correct public opinion in relation to their situation 
and rights, and obtain for them equal civil and political rights 
and privileges with the whites." 

From this it will be seen that they think it a duty to 
give colored people all possible means of education, and 
instead of removing them away from the prejudice, to 
remove the prejudice away from them. 

They lay it down as a maxim that immediate emanci- 
pation is the only just course, and the only safe policy. 
They say that slavery is a common evil, and therefore 
there is a common right to investigate it, and search for 
modes of relief. They say that New England shares, 
and ever has shared, in this national sin, and is therefore 
bound to atone for the mischief, as far as it can be done.' 

The strongest reason why the Anti-Slavery Society 
wish for the emancipation of slaves, is because they 
think no other course can be pursued which does not, 
in its very nature, involve a constant violation of the 
laws of God. In the next place, they believe there is 
no other sure way of providing for the safety of the 
white population in the slave States. I know that many 
of the planters affect to laugh at the idea of fearing 
their slaves ; but why are their laws framed with such 
cautious vigilance? Why must not negroes of different 
plantations communicate together ? Why are they not 
allowed to be out in the evening, or to carry even a stick 
to defend themselves, in case of necessity ? 

In the Virginia Legislature a gentleman said, " It was 
high time for something to be done when men did not 
dare to open their own doors without pistols at their 
belts ;" and Mr Randolph has publicly declared that a 
planter was merely " a sentry at his own door." 

Mr Roane of Virginia, asks, — " Is there an intelli- 
gent man who does not know that this excess of slavery 


is increasing, and will continue to increase in a.rajio 
which is alarming in the extreme, and must overwhelm 
our descendants in ruin ? Why then should we shut our 
eyes and turn our backs upon the evil ? Will delay ren- 
der it less gigantic, or give us more Herculean strength 
to meet and subdue it at a future time ? Oh, no — delay 
breeds danger — procrastination is the thief of time, and 
the refuge of sluggards." 

It is very true that insurrection is perfect madness on 
the part of the slaves ; for they are sure to be overpow- 
ered. But such madness has happened ; and innocent 
women and children have fallen victims to it. 

A few months ago, I was conversing with a very mild 
and judicious member of the Anti-Slavery Society, when 
a gentleman originally from the South came in. As he 
was an old acquaintance, and had been a long time resi- 
dent in New England, it was not deemed necessary, as a 
matter of courtesy, to drop the conversation. He soon 
became excited. " Whatever you may think, Mrs 
Child," said he, " the slaves are a great deal happier 
than either of us ; the less people know, the more merry 
they are." I replied, " I heard you a short time since 
talking over your plans for educating your son ; if know- 
ledge brings wretchedness, why do you not keep him in 
happy ignorance V " The fashion of the times requires 
some information," said he ; " but why do you concern 
yourself about the negroes ? Why don't you excite the 
horses to an insurrection, because they are obliged to 
work, and are whipped if they do not ? " " One horse 
does not whip another," said I ; " and besides, I do not 
wish to promote insurrections. I would, on the contrary, 
do all I could to prevent them." ff Perhaps you do not 
like the comparison between slaves and horses," rejoined 
he ; " it is true, the horses have the advantage." I 
made no reply ; for where such ground is assumed, what 
can be said ; besides, I did not then, and I do not 
now, believe that he expressed his real feelings. He was 
piqued, and spoke unadvisedly. This gentleman denied 
that the lot of the negroes was hard. He said thev 
loved their masters, and their masters loved them ; and 
in any cases of trouble or illness, a man's slaves were 



his best friends. I mentioned some undoubted instances 
of cruelty to slaves ; he acknowledged that such instan- 
ces might very rarely happen, but said that in general 
the masters were much more to be pitied than the ne- 
groes. A lady, who had been in South Carolina when 
an insurrection was apprehended, related several anec- 
dotes concerning the alarm that prevailed there at the 
time : and added, " I often wish that none of my friends 
lived in a slave State." " Why should you be anxious? 57 
rejoined the Southern gentleman ; " You know that they 
have built a strong citadel in the heart of the city, to 
which all the inhabitants can repair, in case of insur- 
rection." " So," said I, " they have built a citadel to 
protect them from their happy, contented servants — a 
citadel against their best friends /" I could not but be 
amused at the contradictions that occurred during this 

That emancipation has in several instances been ef- 
fected with safety has been already shown. But allowing 
that there is some danger in discontinuing slavery, is 
there not likewise danger in continuing it ? In one 
case, the danger, if there were any, would soon be sub- 
dued ; in the other, it is continually increasing. 

The planter tells us that the slave is very happy, and 
bids us leave him as he is. If laughter is a sign of hap- 
piness, the Irishman, tumbling in the same mire as his 
pigs, is happy. The merely sensual man is no doubt 
merry and needless ; but who would call him happy ? 
Is it not a fearful thing to keep immortal beings in a 
state like beasts 1 The more the senses are subjected 
to the moral and intellectual powers, the happier man is, 
— the more we learn to sacrifice the present to the future, 
the higher do we rise in the scale of existence. The 
negro may often enjoy himself, like the dog when he is 
not beaten, or the hog when he is not starved ; but let 
not this be called happiness. 

How far the slave laws are conducive to the enjoyment 
of those they govern, each individual can judge for him- 
self. In the Southern papers, we continually see pic- 
tures of runaway negroes, and sometimes the advertise- 
ments identify them by scars, or by letters branded upon 



them. Is it natural for men to run away from comfort 
and happiness, especially when any one who meets them 
may shoot them, like a dog? and when whipping nearly 
unto death is authorized as the punishment? I forbear 
to describe how much more shocking slave whipping is 
than anything we are accustomed to see bestowed upon 

But the advocates of slavery tell us, that on the ne- 
gro's own account, it is best to keep him in slavery ; that 
without a master to guide him and take care of him, he 
is a wretched being; that freedom is the greatest curse 
that can be bestowed upon him. Then why do their 
Legislatures grant it as a reward for i( meritorious servi- 
ces to the State" ? Why do benevolent masters be- 
queath the legacy of freedom, " in consideration of long 
and faithful service" ? Why did Jefferson so earnestly, 
and so very humbly request the Legislature of Virginia 
to ratify the manumission of his five favorite slaves ] 

Notwithstanding the disadvantageous position of free 
negroes in a community consisting of whites and slaves, 
it is evident that, even upon these terms, freedom is con- 
sidered a blessing. 

The Anti-Slavery Society agree with Harriet Marti- 
neau in saying, " Patience with the men, but no patience 
with the principles. As much patience as you please in 
enlightening those who are unaware of the abuses, but 
no patience with social crimes" ! 

The Colonization Society are always reminding us 
that the master has rights as well as the slave : The 
Anti-Slavery Society urge us to remember that the slave 
has rights as well as the master. I leave it for sober 
sense to determine which of these claims is in the great- 
est danger of being forgotten. 

The abolitionists think it a duty to maintain at all 
times, and in all places, that slavery ought to be abol- 
ished, and that it can be abolished. When error is so 
often repeated it becomes very important to repeat the 
truth ; especially as good men are apt to be quiet, and 
selfish men are prone to be active. They propose no 
plan ^— they leave that to the wisdom of Legislatures. - — 
But they never swerve from the principle that slavery i$ 




both wicked and unnecessary. Their object is to turn the 
public voice against this evil, by a plain exposition of facts. 

Perhaps it may seem of little use for individuals to 
maintain any particular principle, while they do not at- 
tempt to prescribe the ways and means by which it can 
be carried into operation : But the voice of the public 
is mighty, either for good or evil ; and that far sounding 
echo is composed of single voices. 

Schiller makes his Fiesco exclaim, " Spread out the 
thunder into its single tones, and it becomes a lullaby for 
children ; pour it forth in one quick peal, and the royal 
sound shall move the heavens !" 

If the work of abolition must necessarily be slow in its 
progress, so much the more need of beginning soon, and 
working vigorously. My life upon it, a safe remedy 
can be found for this evil, whenever we are sincerely de- 
sirous of doing justice for its own sake. 

The Anti-Slavery Society is loudly accused of being 
seditious, fanatical, and likely to promote insurrections. 
It seems to be supposed, that they wish to send fire and 
sword into the South, and encourage the slaves to hunt 
down their masters. Slave owners wish to have it 
viewed in this light, because they know that the subject 
they have chosen, will not bear discussion ; and men 
here, who give the tone to public opinion, have loudly re- 
peated the charge — some from good motives and some 
from bad. I once had a very strong prejudice against 
anti-slavery ; — (I am ashamed to think how strong — 
for mere prejudice should never be stubborn,) but a can- 
did examination has convinced me, that I was in an 
error. I made the common mistake of taking things for 
granted, without stopping to investigate. 

This Society do not wish to see any coercive or dan- 
gerous measures pursued. They wish for universal 
emancipation, because they believe it is the only way to 
prevent insurrections. Almost every individual among 
them, is a strong friend to Peace Societies. They wish 
to move the public mind on this subject, in the same 
manner that it has been moved on other subjects : viz. 
by open, candid, fearless discussion. This is all they 
want to do ; and this they are determined to do, because 
they believe it to be an important duty. For a long time 


past, public. sympathy has been earnestly directed in the 
wrong way ; if it could be made to turn round, a most 
happy change would be produced. There are many 
people at the South who would be glad to have a safe 
method of emancipation discovered; but instead of en- 
couraging them, all our presses, and pulpits, and books, 
and conversation, have been used to strengthen the 
hands of those who wish to perpetuate the " costly ini- 
quity. " Divine Providence always opens the way for 
the removal of evils, individual or national, whenever 
man is sincerely willing to have them removed ; it may 
be difficult to do right, but it is never impossible. Yet 
a majority of my countrymen do, in effect, hold the fol- 
lowing language : " We know that this evil cannot be 
cured ; and we will speak and publish our opinion on 
every occasion ; but you must not, for your lives, dare to 
assert that there is a possibility of our being mistaken. 35 

If there were any apparent wish to get rid of this 
sin and disgrace, I believe the members of the Anti- 
Slavery Society would most heartily and courageously 
defend slave owners from any risk they might incur in 
a sincere effort to do right. They would teach the ne- 
gro that it is the Christian's duty meekly and patiently 
to suffer wrong ; but they dare not excuse the white man 
for continuing to inflict the wrong. 

They think it unfair that all arguments on this sub- 
ject should be founded on the convenience and safety 
of the master alone. They wish to see the white man's 
claims have their due weight ; but they insist that the 
negro's rights ought not to be thrown out of the balance. 

At the time a large reward was offered for the cap- 
ture of Mr Garrison, on the ground that his paper excited 
insurrections, it is a fact, that he had never sent or 
caused to be sent, a single paper south of Mason and 
Dixon's line. He afterwards sent papers to some of the 
leading politicians there ; but they of course were not 
the ones to promote negro insurrections. "But," it has 
been answered, ff the papers did find their way there." 
Are we then forbidden to publish our opinions upon an 
important subject, for fear somebody will send them 
somewhere ? Is slavery to remain a sealed book in this most 
communicative of all ages, and this most inquisitive of 



all countries ? If so, we live under an actual censorship 
of the press. This is like what the Irishman said of our 
paved cities — tying down the stones, and letting the 
mad dogs run loose. 

If insurrections do occur, they will no doubt be attri- 
buted to the Anti-Slavery Society. But we must not for- 
get that there were insurrections in the West Indies long 
before the English abolitionists began their efforts • and 
that masters were murdered in this country, before the 
Anti-Slavery Society was thought of. Neither must 
we forget that the increased severity of the laws is very 
likely to goad an oppressed people to madness. The 
very cruelty of the laws against resistance under any cir- 
cumstances, would be thought to justify a white man in 
rebellion, because it gives resistance the character of self- 
defence. " The law," says Blackstone, " respects the 
passions of the human mind ; and when external violence 
is offered to a man himself, or those to whom he bears a 
near connexion, makes it lawful in him to do himself 
that immediate justice, to which he is prompted by nature, 
and which no prudential motives are strong enough to 

As it respects promoting insurrections by discussing 
this subject, it should be remembered that it is very 
rare for any colored person at the South to know how 
to read or write. 

Furthermore, if there be danger in the discussion, our 
silence cannot arrest it ; for the whole world is talking 
and writing about it; — even children's handkerchiefs 
seem to be regarded as sparks falling into a powder 
magazine. How much better it would be not to live 
in the midst of a powder magazine. 

The English abolitionists have labored long and ardu- 
ously. Every inch of the ground has been contested.- — 
After obtaining the decision that negroes brought into 
England were freemen, it took them thirty five years W 
obtain the abolition of the slave trade. But their pro- 
gress, though slow and difficult, has been certain. They 
are now on the very eve of entire, unqualified emanci- 
pation in all their colonies. I take very little interest in 
politics, unless they bear upon the subject of slavery ; — 
and then I throw my whole soul into them. Hence the 


permanence of Lord Grey's ministry has become an ob- 
ject of intense interest. But all England is acting as 
one man on this subject, and she must prevail. 

The good work has indeed been called by every odious 
epithet. Tt was even urged that the abolition of the 
slave trade would encourage the massacre of white men. 
Clarkson, who seems to have been the meekest and most 
patient of men, was stigmatized as an insurrectionist. — 
It was said he wanted to bring all the horrors of the 
French Revolution into England, merely because he 
wanted to abolish the slave trade. — It was said Liver- 
pool and Bristol would sink, never to rise again, if that 
traffic were destroyed. 

The insurrection at Barbadoes, in 1816, was ascribed 
to the influence of missionaries infected with the wicked 
philanthropy of the age ; but it was discovered that 
there was no missionary on the island at the time of that 
event, nor for a long time previous to it. The insurrec- 
tion at Demerara, several years after, was publicly and 
angrily ascribed to the Methodist missionaries ; they 
were taken up and imprisoned; and it was lucky for 
these innocent men, that, out of their twelve hundred 
black converts, only two had joined the rebellion. 

Ridicule and reproach has been abundantly heaped 
upon the laborers in this righteous cause. Power, 
wealth, talent, pride, and sophistry, are all in arms 
against them ; but God and truth is on their side. The 
cause of anti-slavery is rapidly gaining ground. Wise 
heads as well as warm hearts, are joining in its support. 
In a few years I believe the opinion of New England will 
be unanimous in its favor. Maine, which enjoys the 
enviable distinction of never having had a slave upon 
her soil, has formed an Anti-Slavery Society composed 
of her best and most distinguished men. Those who are 
determined to be on the popular side, should be cautious 
how they move just now : It is a trying time for such 
characters, when public opinion is on the verge of a great 

Men who think upon the subject, are fast coming to 
the conclusion that slavery can never be much amelior- 
ated, while it is allowed to exist. What Mr Fox said of 
the trade is true of the system — " you may as well try 


to regulate murder." It is a disease as deadly as the 
cancer; and while one particle of it remains in the con- 
stitution, no cure can be effected. The relation is unnat- 
ural in itself, and therefore it reverses all the rules 
which are applied to other human relations. Thus a 
free government, which in every other point of view is a 
blessing, is a curse to the slave. The liberty around him 
is contagious, and therefore the laws must be endowed 
with a tenfold crushing power, or the captive will break 
his chains. A despotic monarch can follow the impulses 
of humanity without scruple. When Vidius Pollio or- 
dered one of his slaves to be cut to pieces and thrown 
into his fish pond, the Emperor Augustus commanded 
him to emancipate immediately, not only that slave, but 
all his slaves. In a free State there is no such power ; 
and there would be none needed, if the laws were equal, 
— but the slave owners are legislators, and make the 
laws, in which the negro has no voice — rthe master in- 
fluences public opinion, but the slave cannot. 

Miss Martineau very wisely says ; " To attempt to 
combine freedom and slavery is to put new wine into old 
skins. Soon may the old skins burst ! for we shall never 
want for better wine than they have ever held." 

A work has been lately published, written by Jonathan 
Dymond, who was a member of the Society of Friends, 
in England ; it is entitled " Essays on the Principles of 
Morality" — and most excellent Essays they are. Ev- 
ery sentence recognises the principle of sacrificing all 
selfish considerations to our inward perceptions of duty ; 
and therefore every page shines with the mild but pow- 
erful light of true christian philosophy. I rejoice to 
hear that the book is likely to be republished in this 
country. In his remarks on slavery the author says : 
" The supporters of the system will hereafter be regarded 
with the same public feelings, as he who was an advo- 
cate of the slave trade now is. How is it that legislators 
and public men are so indifferent to their fame ? Who 
would now be willing that biography should record of 
him, — This man defended the slave trade ? The time 
will come when the record, — This man opposed the ab- 
olition of slavery, will occasion a great deduction from 
the public estimate of weight of character." 



u We must not allow negroes to be men^ lest we ourselves should be suspected 
©f not being Christians." Montesquieu. 

In order to decide what is our duty concerning the 
Africans and their descendants, we must first clearly 
make up our minds whether they are, or are not, human 
beings — whether they have, or have not, the same capa- 
cities for improvement as other men. 

The intellectual inferiority of the negroes is a common, 
though most absurd apology, for personal prejudice, and 
the oppressive inequality of the laws ; for this reason, I 
shall take some pains to prove that the present degraded 
condition of that unfortunate race is produced by artifi- 
cial causes, not by the laws of nature. 

In the first place, naturalists are universally agreed 
concerning " the identity of the human type ;" by which 
they mean that all living creatures, that can, by any pro- 
cess, be enabled to perceive moral and intellectual truths, 
are characterized by similar peculiarities of organization. 
They may differ from each other widely, but they still 
belong to the same class. An eagle and a wren are very 
unlike each other ,* but no one would hesitate to pro- 
nounce that they were both birds : so it is with the 
almost endless varieties of the monkey tribe. We all 
know that beasts, however sagacious, are incapable of 
abstract thought, or moral perception. The most won- 
derful elephant in the world could not command an army, 
or govern a state. An ourang-outang may eat, and 
drink, and dress, and move like a man ; but he could 
never write an ode, or learn to relinquish his own good 
for the good of his species. The human conformation, 


however it may be altered by the operation of physical 
or moral causes, differs from that of all other beings, 
and on this ground, the negro's claim to be ranked as 
aman, is universally allowed by the learned. 

The condition of this people in ancient times is very 
far from indicating intellectual or moral inferiority. — 
Ethiopia held a conspicuous place among the nations. — 
Her princes were wealthy and powerful, and her people 
distinguished for integrity and wisdom. Even the proud 
Grecians evinced respect for Ethiopia, almost amounting 
to reverence, and derived thence the sublimest portions 
of their mythology. The popular belief that all the 
gods made an annual visit to the Ethiopians, shows the 
high estimation in which they were held ; for we are not 
told that such an honor was bestowed on any other 
nation. In the first book of the Iliad, Achilles is repre- 
sented as anxious to appeal at once to the highest author- 
ities ; but his mother tells him : " Jupiter set off yester- 
day, attended by all the gods, on a journey toward the 
ocean, to feast with the excellent Ethiopians, and is not 
expected back at Olympus till the twelfth day." 

In Ethiopia, was likewise placed the table of the Sun, 
reported to kindle of its own accord, when exposed to 
the rays of that great luminary. 

In Africa was the early reign of Saturn, under the 
appellation of Ouranus, or Heaven ; there the impious 
Titans warred with the sky ; there Jupiter was born and 
nursed ; there was the celebrated shrine of Ammon, ded- 
icated to Theban Jove, which the Greeks reverenced 
more highly than the Delphic Oracle ; there was the 
birth-place and oracle of Minerva ; and there, Atlas sup- 
ported both the heavens and the earth upon his shoul- 

It will be said that fables prove nothing. — But there 
is probably much deeper meaning in these fables than 
we now understand ; there was surely some reason for 
giving them such a " local habitation." Why did the 
ancients represent Minerva as born in Africa, — and 
why are we told that Atlas there sustained the heavens 
and the earth, unless they meant to imply that Africa 
was the centre, from which religious and scientific light 
had been diffused ? 


Some ancient writers suppose that Egypt derived all 
the arts and sciences from Ethiopia ; while others believe 
precisely the reverse. Diodorus supported the first opin- 
ion, — and asserts that the Ethiopian vulgar spoke the 
same language as the learned of Egypt. 

It is well known that Egypt was the great school of 
knowledge in the ancient world. It was the birth-place 
of Astronomy; and we still mark the constellations as 
they were arranged by Egyptian shepherds. The wisest 
of the Grecian philosophers, among whom were Solon, 
Pythagoras and Plato, went there for instruction, as our 
youno- men now go to England and Germany. The 
Eleusinian mysteries were introduced from Egypt ; and 
the important secret which they taught, is supposed to 
have been the existence of one, invisible God. A large 
portion of Grecian mythology was thence derived ; but in 
passing from one country to the other, the form of these 
poetical fables was often preserved, while the original 
meaning was lost. 

Herodotus, the earliest of the Greek historians, informs 
us that the Egyptians were negroes. This fact has been 
much doubted, and often contradicted. But Herodotus 
certainly had the best means of knowing the truth on 
this subject ; for he travelled in Egypt, and obtained his 
knowledge of the country by personal observation. He 
declares that the Colchians must be a colony of Egyp- 
tians, because, " like them, they have a black skin and 
frizzled hair." 

The statues of the Sphinx have the usual characteristics 
of the negro race. This opinion is confirmed by Blu- 
menbach, the celebrated German naturalist, and by Vol- 
ney, who carefully examined the architecture of Egypt. 

Concerning the sublimity of the architecture in this 
ancient negro kingdom, some idea may be conceived 
from the description of Thebes given by Denon, who 
accompanied the French army into Egypt : " This city, 
renowned for numerous kings, who through their wisdom 
have been elevated to the rank of gods ; for laws, which 
have been revered without being known ; for sciences, 
which have been confided to proud and mysterious in- 
scriptions ; for wise and earliest monuments of the arts, 



which time has respected ; — this sanctuary, abandoned, 
isolated through barbarism, and surrendered to the desert 
from which it was won ; this city, shrouded in the veil 
of mystery by which even colossi are magnified ; this 
remote city, which imagination has only caught a glimpse 
of through the darkness of time — was still so gigantic 
an apparition, that, at the sight of its scattered ruins, the 
army halted of its own accord, and the soldiers with one 
spontaneous movement, clapped their hands." 

The Honorable Alexander Everett, in his work on 
America, says : " While Greece and Rome were yet 
barbarous, we find the light of learning and improvement 
emanating from the continent of Africa, (supposed to 
be so degraded and accursed,) out of the midst of this 
very woolly-haired, flat-nosed, thick-lipped, coal-black 
race, which some persons are tempted to station at a 
pretty low intermediate point between men and monkeys. 
It is to Egypt, if to any nation, that we must look as the 
real antiqua mater of the ancient and modern refine- 
ment of Europe. The great lawgiver of the Jews was 
prepared for his divine mission by a course of instruction 
in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." 

" The great Assyrian empires of Babylon and Nine- 
veh, hardly less illustrious than Egypt in arts and arms, 
were founded by Ethiopian colonies, and peopled by 

" Palestine, or Canaan, before its conquest by the Jews, 
is represented in Scripture, as well as in other histories, 
as peopled by blacks; and hence it follows that Tyre 
and Carthage, the most industrious, wealthy, and polish- 
ed states of their time, were of this color." 

Another strong argument against the natural inferiority 
of negroes may be drawn from the present condition of 
Africa. Major Denham's account of the Sultan of Sack- 
atoo proves that the brain is not necessarily rendered 
stupid by the color of the face : " The palace as usual in 
Africa, consisted of a sort of inclosed town, with an open 
quadrangle in front. On entering the gate, he was con- 
ducted through three huts serving as guard-houses, after 
which he found Sultan Bello seated on a small carpet in 
a sort of painted and ornamented cottage. Bello had a 


noble and commanding figure, with a high forehead and 
large black eyes. He gave the traveller a hearty wel- 
come, and after inquiring the particulars of his journey, 
proceeded to serious affairs. He produced books belong- 
ing to Major Denham, which had been taken in the dis- 
astrous battle of Dirkullah ; and though he expressed a 
feeling of dissatisfaction at the Major's presence on that 
occasion, readily accepted an apology, and restored the 
volumes. He only asked to have the subject of each 
explained, and to hear the sound of the language, which 
he declared to be beautiful. He then began to press his 
visiter with theological questions, and showed himself not 
wholly unacquainted with the controversies which have 
agitated the christian world ; indeed, he soon went beyond 
the depth of his visiter, who was obliged to own he was 
not versant in the abstruser mysteries of divinity. 

" The Sultan now opened a frequent and familiar com- 
munication with the English envoy, in which he showed 
himself possessed of a good deal of information. The 
astronomical instruments, from which, as from imple- 
ments of magic, many of his attendants started with 
horror, were examined by the monarch with an intelligent 
eye. On being shown the planisphere, he proved his 
knowledge of the planets and many of the constellations, 
by repeating their Arabic names. The telescope, which 
presented objects inverted, — the compass, by which he 
could always turn to the East when praying, — and the 
sextant, which he called ' the looking glass of the sun/ 
excited peculiar interest. He inquired with evident 
jealousy, into some parts of English history ; particularly 
the conquest of India and the attack upon Algiers." 

The same traveller describes the capital of Loggun, be- 
neath whose high walls the river flowed in majestic 
beauty. " It was a handsome city, with a street as wide 
as Pall Mall, bordered by large dwellings, having spacious 
areas in front. Manufacturing industry was honored. 
The cloths woven here were superior to those of Bornou, 
being finely dyed with indigo, and beautifully glazed. — 
There was even a current coin, made of iron, somewhat 
in the form of a horse-shoe ; and rude as this was, none 
of their neighbors possessed anything similar. The wo- 
men were handsome, intelligent and lively." 


All travellers in Africa agree, that the inhabitants, 
particularly of the interior, have a good deal of mechani- 
cal skill. They tan and dye leather, sometimes thinning 
it in such a manner that it is as flexible as paper. In 
Houssa, leather is dressed in the same soft, rich style as 
in Morocco ; they manufacture cordage, handsome cloths, 
and fine tissue. Though ignorant of the turning ma- 
chine, they make good pottery ware, and some of their 
jars are really tasteful. They prepare indigo, and ex- 
tract ore from minerals. They make agricultural tools, 
and work skilfully in gold, silver and steel. Dickson, 
who knew jewellers and watch-makers among them, 
speaks of a very ingenious wooden clock made by a negro. 
Hornemann says the inhabitants of Haissa give their cut- 
ting instruments a keener edge than European artists, 
and their files are superior to those of France or England. 
Golberry assures us that some of the African stuffs are 
extremely fine and beautiful. 

Mungo Park says " The industry of the Foulahs, in 
pasturage and agriculture is everywhere remarkable. — 
Their herds and flocks are numerous, and they are opu- 
lent in a high degree. They enjoy all the necessaries of 
life in the greatest profusion. They display much skill 
in the management of their cattle, making them extremely 
gentle by kindness and familiarity." The same writer 
remarks that the negroes love instruction, and that they 
have advocates to defend the slaves brought before their 

Speaking of Wasiboo he says : " Cultivation is carried 
on here on a very extensive scale ; and, as the natives 
themselves exoress it, ' hunger is never known. 5 " 

On Mr Park's arrival at one of the Sego ferries, for 
the purpose of crossing the Niger to see the king, he 
savs : " We found a great number waiting for a passage ; 
they looked at me with silent wonder. The view of this 
extensive city ; the numerous canoes upon the river ; the 
crowded population, and the cultivated state of the sur- 
rounding country, formed altogether a prospect of civili- 
zation and magnificence, which 1 little expected to find 
in the bosom of Africa. " 

" The public discussions in Africa, called palavers, 



exhibit a fluent and natural oratory, often accompanied 
with much good sense and shrewdness. Above all, the 
passion for poetry is nearly universal. As soon as the 
evening breeze begins to blow, the song resounds 
throughout all Africa, — it cheers the despondency of 
the wanderer through the desert — it enlivens the social 
meetings — it inspires the dance, - — and even the lamen- 
tations of the mourners are poured forth in measured ac- 

" In these extemporary and spontaneous effusions, the 
speaker gives utterance to his hopes and fears, his joys 
and sorrows. All the sovereigns are attended by singing 
men and women, who like the European minstrels and 
troubadours celebrate interesting events in verse, which 
they repeat before the public. Like all, whose business 
it is to rehearse the virtues of monarchs, they are of 
course, too much given to flattery. The effusions of the 
African muse are inspired by nature and animated by 
national enthusiasm. From the few specimens given, 
they seem not unlikely to reward the care of a collector. 
How few among our peasantry could have produced the 
pathetic lamentation uttered in the little Bambarra cot- 
tage over the distresses of Mungo Park ! These songs 
handed down from father to son, evidently contain all that 
exists among the African nations of traditional history. 
From the songs of the Jillimen, or minstrels, of Sooli- 
mani, Major Laing was enabled to compile the annals of 
that small kingdom for more than a century/ 5 * 

In addition to the arguments drawn from the ancient 
conditions of Africa, and the present character of people in, 
the interior of that country, there are numerous individual 
examples of spirit, courage, talent, and magnanimity. 

History furnishes very few instances of bravery, intel- 
ligence, and perseverance, equal to the famous Zhinga, 
the negro queen of Angola, born in 1582, Like other 
despotic princes, her character is stained with numerous 
acts of ferocity and crime ; but her great abilities cannot 
be for a moment doubted. 

During her brother's reign, Zhinga was sent as an> 
bassadress to Loanda, to negotiate terms of peace with 

* English Family Library, No. XVI. 



the Portuguese. A palace was prepared for her recep- 
tion ; and she was received with the honors due to her 
rank. On entering the audience-chamber, she perceived 
that a magnificent chair of state was prepared for the 
Portuguese Viceroy, while in front of it, a rich carpet, and 
velvet cushions, embroidered with gold, were arranged 
on the floor for her use. The haughty princess observed 
this in silent displeasure. She gave a signal with her 
eyes, and immediately one of her women knelt on the 
carpet, supporting her weight on her hands. Zhinga 
gravely seated herself upon her back, and awaited the 
entrance of the Viceroy. The spirit and dignity with 
which she fulfilled her mission excited the admiration of 
the whole court. When an alliance was offered, upon 
the condition of annual tribute to the king of Portugal, 
she proudly answered : " Such proposals are for a people 
subdued by force of arms ; they are unworthy of a pow- 
erful monarch, who voluntarily seeks the friendship of 
the Portuguese, and who scorns to be their vassal." 

She finally concluded a treaty, upon the single condi- 
tion of restoring all the Portuguese prisoners. When the 
audience was ended, the Viceroy, as he conducted her 
from the room, remarked that the attendant, upon whose 
back she had been seated, still remained in the same 
posture. Zhinga replied : " It is not fit that the ambas- 
sadress of a great king should be twice served with the 
same seat. I have no further use for the woman." 

Charmed with the politeness of the Europeans, and 
the evolutions of their troops, the African princess long 
delayed her departure. Having received instruction in 
the christian religion, she professed a deep conviction of 
its truth. Whether this was sincere, or merely assumed 
from political motives, is uncertain. During her visit, 
she received baptism, being then forty years old. She 
returned to Angola loaded with presents and honors. — 
Her brother, notwithstanding a solemn promise to pre- 
serve the treaty she had formed, soon made war upon the 
Portuguese. He was defeated, and soon after died of 
poison ; some said his death was contrived by Zhinga. 
She ascended the throne, and having artfully obtained 
possession of her nephew's person, she strangled him 


with her own hands. Revenge, as well as ambition, im- 
pelled her to this crime ; for her brother had, many years 
before, murdered her son, lest he should claim the crown. 

The Portuguese increased so fast in numbers, wealth, 
and power, that the people of Angola became jealous of 
them, and earnestly desired war. Zhinga, having formed 
an alliance with the Dutch, and with several neighboring 
chiefs, began the contest with great vigor. She obtained 
several victories, at first, but was finally driven from her 
kingdom with great loss. Her conquerors offered to 
re-establish her on the throne, if she would consent to 
pay tribute. She haughtily replied, " If my cowardly 
subjects are willing to bear shameful fetters, I cannot 
endure even the thought of dependence upon any foreign 

In order to subdue her stubborn spirit, the Portuguese 
placed a king of their own choosing upon the throne of 
Angola. This exasperated Zhinga to such a degree, 
that she vowed everlasting hatred against her enemies, 
and publicly abjured their religion. At the head of an 
intrepid and ferocious band, she, during eighteen years, 
perpetually harassed the Portuguese. She could neither 
be subdued by force of arms, nor appeased by presents. 
She demanded complete restitution of her territories, 
and treated every other proposal with the utmost scorn. 
Once, when closely besieged in an island, she asked a 
short time to reflect on the terms of surrender. The 
request being granted, she silently guided her troops 
through the river at midnight, and carried fire and sword 
into another portion of the enemy's country. 

The total defeat of the Hollanders, and the death of 
her sister, who had been taken captive during the wars, 
softened her spirit. She became filled with remorse for 
having renounced the christian religion. She treated 
her prisoners more mercifully, and gave orders that the 
captive priests should be attended with the utmost reve- 
rence. They perceived the change, and lost no opportu- 
nity of regaining their convert. The queen was ready to 
comply with their wishes, but feared a revolt among her 
subjects and allies, who were strongly attached to the 
customs of their fathers. The priest, by numerous arti- 


fices, worked so powerfully upon the superstitious fears 
of the people, that they were prepared to hail Zhinga' s 
return to the Catholic faith with joy. 

The queen, thus reconciled to the church, signed a 
treaty of peace ; took the Capuchins for her counsellors; 
dedicated her capital city to the Virgin, under the name 
of Saint Mary of Matamba ; and erected a large church. 
Idolatry was forbidden, under the most rigorous pen- 
alties ; and not a few fell martyrs to Zhinga's fiery zeal. 
A law prohibiting polygamy excited discontent. — 
Zhinga, though seventyfive years old, publicly patronized 
marriage, by espousing one of her courtiers ; and her 
sister was induced to give the same example. The Por- 
tuguese again tried to make her a vassal to the crown ; 
but the priests, notwithstanding their almost unlimited in- 
fluence, could never obtain her consent to this degradation. 
In 1657, one of her tributaries having violated the 
treaty of peace, she marched at the head of her troops, 
defeated the rebel, and sent his head to the Portuguese. 
In 1758, she made war upon a neighboring king, who 
had attacked her territories ; and returned in triumph, 
after having compelled him to submit to such conditions 
as she saw fit to impose. The same year, she abolished 
the cruel custom of immolating human victims on the 
tombs of princes ; and founded a new city, ornamented 
with a beautiful church and palace. 

She soon after sent an embassage to the Pope, request- 
ing more missionaries among her people. The Pontiff's 
answer was publicly read in the church, where Zhinga 
appeared with a numerous and brilliant train. At a fes- 
tival in honor of this occasion, she and the ladies of her 
court performed a mimic battle, in the dress and armor of 
Amazons. Though more than eighty years old, this 
remarkable woman displayed as much strength, agility, 
and skill, as she could have done at twentyfive. She 
died in 1663, aged eightytwo. Arrayed in royal robes, 
ornamented with precious stones, with a bow and arrow 
in her hand, the body was shown to her sorrowing sub- 
jects. It was then, according to her wish, clothed in the 
Capuchin habit, with crucifix and rosary.* 

* See Biographie Universelle. 


The commandant of a Portuguese fort, who expected 
the arrival of an African envoy, ordered splendid prepa- 
rations, that he might be dazzled with the idea of Euro- 
pean wealth. When the negro entered the richly orna- 
mented saloon, he was not invited to sit down. Like 
Zhinga, he made a signal to an attendant, who knelt 
upon the floor, and thus furnished him a seat. The 
commandant asked, " Is thy king as powerful as the 
king of Portugal 1" The colored envoy replied : " My 
king has a hundred servants like the king of Portugal ; 
a thousand like thee ; and but one like myself/ 5 As he 
said this, he indignantly left the room. 

Michaud, the elder, says that in different places on 
the Persian Gulf, he has seen negroes as heads of great 
commercial houses, receiving orders and expediting ves- 
sels to various parts of India. Their intelligence in bu- 
siness is well known on the Levant. 

The Czar Peter of Russia, during his travels became 
acquainted with Annibal, an African negro, who was in- 
telligent and well educated. Peter the Great, true to his 
generous system of rewarding merit wherever he found 
it, made Annibal Lieutenant General and Director of the 
Russian Artillery. He was decorated with the riband 
of the order of St Alexander Nenski, His son, a mu- 
latto, was Lieutenant General of Artillery, and said to 
be a man of talent. St Pierre and La Harpe were ac- 
quainted with him. 

Job Ben Solomon, was the son of the Mohammedan 
king of Bunda, on the Gambia. He was taken in 1730, 
and sold in Maryland. By a train of singular adventures 
he was conveyed to England, where his intelligence and 
dignified manners gained him many friends; among whom 
was Sir Hans Sloane, for whom he translated several Ar- 
abic manuscripts. After being received with distinction 
at the Court of St James, the African Company became 
interested in his fate, and carried him back to Bunda, in 
the year 1734. His uncle embracing him, said, " Dur- 
ing sixty years, you are the first slave I have ever seen 
return from the American isles." At his father's death, 


Solomon became king, and was much beloved in his 

The son of the king of Congo, and several of the 
young people of rank were sent to the Portuguese uni- 
versities, in the time of King Immanuel. Some of them 
were distinguished scholars, and several of them pro- 
moted to the priesthood. 

In 1765, a negro in England was ordained by Doctor 
Keppell, bishop of Exeter. In Prevot's General History 
of Voyages, there is an account of a black bishop who 
studied at Rome. 

Antonio Perura Rehoupas, who is at the present time 
Deputy from Bahia, in the Cortes of Brazil, is a distin- 
guished lawyer, and a good man. He is learned in polit- 
ical economy, and has written ably upon the currency of 
Brazil. I have heard intelligent white men from that 
country speak of him in terms of high respect and admi- 

Henri/ Diaz, who is extolled in all the histories of 
Brazil, was a negro and slave. He became Colonel of a 
regiment of foot^soldiers, of his own color ; and such 
was his reputation for sagacity and valor, that it was con- 
sidered a distinction to be under his command. In the 
contest between the Portuguese and Hollanders, in 1637, 
Henry Diaz fought bravely against the latter. He com- 
pelled them to capitulate at Arecise, and to surrender 
Fernanbon. In a battle, struggling against the superi- 
ority of numbers, and perceiving that some of his soldiers 
began to give way, he rushed into the midst of them, 
exclaiming, " Are these the brave companions of Henry 
Diaz !" His example renewed their courage, and they 
returned so impetuously to the charge, that the almost 
victorious army were compelled to retreat hastily. 

Having wounded his left hand in battle, he caused it 
to be struck off, rather than to lose the time necessary to 
dress it. This regiment, composed of blacks, long ex-* 
isted in Brazil under the popular name of Henry Diaz. 


Antony William Amo, born in Guinea was brought to 
Europe when very young. The Princess of Brunswick, 
Wolfenbuttle, defrayed the expenses of his education. 
He pursued his studies at Halle and at Wittemberg, and 
so distinguished himself by his character and abilities, 
that the Rector and Council of Wittemberg thought 
proper to give public testimony of their respect in a let- 
ter of congratulation. In this letter they remark that 
Terence also was an African — that many martyrs, doc- 
tors, and fathers of the church were born in the same 
country, where learning once flourished, and which by 
losing the christian faith, again fell back into barbarism. 
Amo delivered private lectures on philosophy, which are 
highly praised in the same letter. He became a doctor. 

Lislet Geoffrroy, a mulatto, was an officer of Artil- 
lery and guardian of the Depot of Maps and Plans of the 
Isle of France. He was a correspondent of the French 
Academy of Sciences, to whom he regularly transmitted 
meteorological observations, and sometimes hydrograph- 
ical journals. His map of the Isles of France and Re- 
union is considered the best map of those islands that 
has appeared. In the archives of the Institute of Paris 
is an account of Lislet's voyage to the Bay of St Luce. 
He points out the exchangeable commodities and other 
resources which it presents ; and urges the importance 
of encouraging industry by the hopre of advantageous 
commerce, instead of exciting the natives to war in order 
to obtain slaves. Lislet established a scientific society at 
the Isle of France, to which some white men refused to 
belong, because its founder had a skin more deeply col- 
ored than their own. 

James Dcrham, originally a slave at Philadelphia, was 
sold to a physician, who employed him in compounding 
drugs ; he was afterward sold to a surgeon, and finally 
to Doctor Robert Dove, of New Orleans. In 1788, at 
the age of twentyone, he became the most distinguished 
physician in that city, and was able to talk with French, 
Spanish, and English in their own languages. Doctor 
Rush says, " I conversed with him on medicine, and 
found him very learned. I thought I could give him in- 


formation concerning the treatment of diseases ; but I 
learned from him more than he could expect from me." 

Thomas Fuller, an African residing in Virginia, did 
not know how to read or write, but had great facility in 
arithmetical calculations. He was once asked how many 
seconds has an individual lived when he is seventy years, 
seven months, and seven days old ? In a minute and a 
half he answered the question. One of the company took 
a pen, and after a long calculation, said Fuller had 
made the sum too large. " No," replied the negro, " the 
error is on your side. You did not calculate the leap- 
years." These facte are mentioned in a letter from Doc- 
tor Rush, published in the fifth volume of the American 

In 1788, Othello, a negro, published at Baltimore an 
Essay against Slavery. Addressing white men, he says, 
" Is not your conduct, compared with your principles, a 
sacrilegious irony ? When you dare to talk of civiliza- 
tion and the gospel, you pronounce your own anathema. 
In you the superiority of power produces nothing but a 
superiority of brutality and barbarism. Your fine polit- 
ical systems are sullied by the outrages committed 
against human nature and the divine majesty." 

Olandad Equiano, better known by the name of Gus- 
tavus Vasa, was stolen in Africa, at twelve years old, 
together with his sister. They were torn from each 
other ; and the brother, after a horrible passage in a 
slave ship, was sold at Barbadoes. Being purchased by 
a lieutenant, he accompanied his new master to England, 
Guernsey, and the siege of Louisbourg. He afterwards 
experienced great changes of fortune, and made voyages 
to various parts of Europe and America. In all his wan- 
derings, he cherished an earnest desire for freedom. He 
hoped to obtain his liberty by faithfulness and zeal in his 
master's service ; but finding avarice stronger than be- 
nevolence, he began trade with a capital of three pence, 
and by rigid economy was at last able to purchase — his 
own body and soul; this, however, was not effected, 
until he had endured much oppression and insult. He 


was several times shipwrecked, and finally, after thirty 
years of vicissitude and suffering, he settled in London 
and published his Memoirs. The book is said to be 
written with all the simplicity, and something of the 
roughness, of uneducated nature. He gives a naive 
description of his terror at an earthquake, his surprise 
when he first saw snow, a picture, a watch, and a quad- 

He always had an earnest desire to understand navi- 
gation, as a probable means of one day escaping from 
slavery. Having persuaded a sea-captain to give him 
lessons, he applied himself with great diligence, though 
obliged to contend with many obstacles, and subject to 
frequent interruptions. Doctor Irving, with whom he 
once lived as a servant, taught him to render salt water 
fresh by distillation. Some time after, when engaged in 
a northern expedition, he made good use of this know- 
ledge, and furnished the crew with water they could 

His sympathies were, very naturally, given to the 
weak and the despised, wherever he found them. He 
deplores the fate of modern Greeks, nearly as much de- 
graded by the Turks as the negroes are by their white 
brethren. In 1789, Vasa presented a petition to the 
British parliament, for the suppression of the slave trade. 
His son, named Sancho, was assistant librarian to Sir 
Joseph Banks, and Secretary to the Committee of Vac- 

Another negro, named Ignatius Sancho, was born on 
board a Guinea ship, where his parents were both cap- 
tives, destined for the South American slave market- 
Change of climate killed his mother, and his father com- 
mitted suicide. At two years old the orphan was carried 
to England, and presented to some ladies residing at 
Greenwich. Something in his character reminded them 
of Don Quixote's squire, and they added Sancho to his 
original name of Ignatius. The Duke of Montague saw 
him frequently and thought he had a mind worthy of 
cultivation. He often sent him books, and advised the 
ladies to give him a chance for education ; but they had 
less liberal views, and often threatened to send the poor 




boy again into slavery. After the death of his friends^ 
he went into the service of the Dutchess of Montague, 
who at her death left him an annuity of thirty pounds; 
beside which he had saved seventy pounds out of his 


Something of dissipation mixed with his love of 
reading, and sullied the better part of his character. — 
He spent his last shilling at Drury Lane, to see Garrick, 
who was extremely friendly to him. At one time he 
thought of performing African characters on the stage, 
but was prevented by a bad articulation, 

He afterward became very regular in his habits, and 
married a worthy West Indian girl. After his death, two 
volumes of his letters were printed, of which a second 
edition was soon published, with a portrait of the author, 
designed by Gainsborough, and engraved by Bartolozzi. 

Sterne formed an acquaintance with Ignatius Sancho ; 
and in the third volume of his letters, there is an epistle 
addressed to this African, in which he tells him that va- 
rieties in nature do not sunder the bands of brotherhood ; 
and expresses his indignation that certain men wish to 
class their equals among the brutes, in order to treat 
them as such with impunity. Jefferson criticises Sancho 
with some severity, for yielding too much to an eccentric 
imagination ; but he acknowledges that he has an easy 
style, and a happy choice of expressions. 

The letters of Sancho are thought to bear some resem- 
blance to those of Sterne, both in their beauties and 

Francis Williams, a negro, was born in Jamaica. — 
The Duke of Montague, governor of the island, think- 
ing him an unusually bright boy, sent him to England to 
school. He afterward entered the University of Cam- 
bridge, and became quite a proficient in mathematics. — 
During his stay in Europe, he published a song which 
became quite popular, beginning, " Welcome, welcome, 
brother debtor." After his return to Jamaica, the Duke 
tried to obtain a place for him in the council of the gov- 
ernment, but did not succeed. He then became a teacher 
of Latin and mathematics. He wrote a good deal of 


Latin verse, a species of composition of which he was 
very fond. This negro is described as having been 
pedantic and haughty ; indulging a profound contempt 
for men of his own color. Where learning is a rare at- 
tainment among any people, or any class of people, this 
effect is very apt to be produced. 

Phillis Wheatly, stolen from Africa when seven or 
eight years old, was sold to a wealthy merchant in Bos- 
ton, in 1761. Being an intelligent and winning child, 
she gained upon the affections of her master's family, and 
they allowed her uncommon advantages. When she was 
nineteen years old, a little volume of her poems was pub- 
lished, and passed through several editions, both in Eng- 
land and the United States. Lest the authenticity of 
the poems should be doubted, her master, the governor, 
the lieutenant governor, and fifteen other respectable per- 
sons, acquainted with her character and circumstances, 
testified that they were really her own productions. Jeffer- 
son denies that these poems have any merit ; but I think 
he would have judged differently, had he been perfectly 
unprejudiced. It would indeed be absurd to put Phillis 
Wheatly in competition with Mrs Hemans, Mary Hewitt, 
Mrs Sigourney, Miss Gould, and other modern writers ; 
but her productions certainly appear very respectable in 
comparison with most of the poetry of that day. 

Phillis Wheatly received her freedom in 1775 ; and 
two years after married a colored man, who, like herself 
was considered a prodigy. He was at first a grocer ; 
but afterward became a lawyer, well known by the name 
of Doctor Peter. He was in the habit of pleading causes 
for his brethren before the tribunals of justice, and gained 
both reputation and fortune by his practice. Phillis had 
been flattered and indulged from her earliest childhood ; 
and, like many literary women in old times, she acquired 
something of contempt for domestic occupations. This 
is said to have produced unhappiness between her and 
her husband. She died in 1780. 

Mr Wilberforce, (on whom may the blessing of God 
rest forever !) aided by several benevolent individuals, 
established a seminary for colored people at Clapham, a 


few leagues from London. The first scholars were 
twentyone young negroes, sent by the Governor of Sierra 
Leone. The Abbe Gregoire says, " I visited this estab- 
lishment in 1802, to examine the progress of the schol- 
ars ; and I found there existed no difference between 
them and European children, except that of color. The 
same observation has been made, first at Paris, in the 
ancient college of La Marche, where Coesnon, professor 
of the University, taught a number of colored boys. — 
Many members of the National Institute, who have care- 
fully examined this college, and watched the progress of 
the scholars in their particular classes, and public exer- 
cises, will testify to the truth of my assertion. 75 

Correa de Serra, the learned Secretary of the Acade- 
my at Portugal, informs us that several negroes have been 
able lawyers, preachers, and professors. 

In the Southern States, the small black children are 
proverbially brighter and more forward than white ones 
of the same age. Repartees, by no means indicative of 
stupidity, have sometimes been made by negroes. A 
slave was suddenly roused with the exclamation, " Why 
don't you wake, when your master calls !" The negro 
answered, " Sleep has no master." 

On a public day the New England Museum, in Boston., 
was thronged with visiters to see the representation of 
the Salem murder. Some colored women being jostled 
back by a crowd of white people, expostulated thus : 
" Don't you know it is always proper to let the mourners 
walk first ?" It argues some degree of philosophy to be able 
to indulge wit at the expense of what is, most unjustly, 
considered a degradation. Public prejudice shamefully 
fetters these people ; and it has been wisely said, " If 
we cannot break our chains, the next best thing we can 
do, is to play with them."* 

Among Bonaparte's officers there was a mulatto Gene- 
ral of Division, named Alexander Dumas. In the army 
of the Alps, with charged bayonet, he ascended St Ber- 
nard, defended by a number of redoubts, took possession 

* In a beautiful little volume called Mary's Journey, by Frauds 


of the enemy's cannon, and turned their own ammuni- 
tion against them. He likewise signalized himself in 
the expedition to Egypt. His troop, composed of blacks 
and mulattoes, were everywhere formidable. Near Lisle, 
Alexander Dumas, with only four men, attacked a post 
of fifty Austrians, killed six, and made sixteen prisoners. 
Napoleon called him the Horatius Codes of the Tyrols. 

On his return from Egypt, Dumas unluckily fell into 
the hands of the Neapolitan government, and was two 
years kept in irons. He died in 18( 

Between 1620 and 1830, some fugitive negroes, united 
with some Brazilians, formed two free states in South 
America, called the Great and Little Palmares ; so named 
on account of the abundance of palm trees. The Great 
Palmares was nearly destroyed by the Hollanders, in 
1644 ; but at the close of the war, the slaves in the neigh- 
borhood of Fernanbouc, resolved to form an establish- 
ment, which would secure their freedom. Like the old 
Romans, they obtained wives by making incursions 
upon their neighbors, and carrying off the women. 

They formed a constitution, established tribunals of 
justice, and adopted a form of worship similar to Chris- 
tianity. The chiefs chosen for life were elected by the 

They fortified their principal towns, cultivated their 
gardens and fields, and reared domestic animals. They 
lived in prosperity and peace, until 1696, when the Por- 
tuguese prepared an expedition against them. The Pal- 
marisians defended themselves with desperate valor, but 
were overcome by superior numbers. Some rushed 
upon death, that they might not survive their liberty ; 
others were sold and dispersed by the conquerors. Thus 
ended this interesting republic. Had it continued to the 
present time, it might have produced a very material 
change in the character and condition of the colored 

In the seventeenth century, when Jamaica was still un- 
der the dominion of the Spaniards, a party of slaves under 
the command of John de Bolas, regained their indepen- 
dence. They increased in numbers, elected the famous 



Cudjoe as their chief, and became very formidable. — 
Cudjoe established a confederation among all the Maroon 
tribes, and by his bravery and skilful management com- 
pelled the English to make a treaty, in which they ac- 
knowledged the freedom of the blacks, and ceded to 
them forever a portion of the territory of Jamaica. 

The French National Assembly admitted free colored 
deputies from St Domingo, and promised a perfect equal- 
ity of rights, without regard to complexion. But, as 
usual, the white colonists made every possible exertion 
to set aside the claims of their darker faced brethren. — 
It was very short-sighted policy ; for the planters abso- 
lutely needed the friendship of the free mulattoes and 
negroes, as a defence against the slaves. Oge, one of 
the colored deputies, an energetic and shrewd man, was 
in Paris, watching political movements with intense in- 
terest, — resolved to maintain the rights of his oppressed 
companions, " quietly if he could — forcibly if he must." 
Day after day, a hearing was promised ; and day after 
day, upon some idle pretext or other, it was deferred; — 
Oge became exasperated. His friends in France recom- 
mended the only medicine ever offered by the white 
man to the heart-sick African, — patience — patience. — 
But he had long observed the operation of slavery, and 
he knew that patience, whatever it might do for the 
white man, brought upon the negro nothing but contempt 
and accumulated wrong. Discouraged in his efforts to 
make head against the intrigues of the slave-holders, he 
could not contain his indignation : "I begin," said he 
to Clarkson, " not to care whether the National Assem- 
bly will hear us or not. But let it beware of the conse- 
quences. We will no longer continue to be held in a 
degraded light. Despatches shall go directly to St Do- 
mingo; and we will soon follow them. We can pro- 
duce as good soldiers on our own estates, as those in 
France. Our own arms shall make us independent and 
respectable. If we are forced to desperate measures, it 
will be in vain that thousands are sent across the Atlan- 
tic to bring us back to our former state." 

The French government issued orders to prevent the 
embarkation of negroes and mulattoes ; but Oge, by the 


way of England, contrived to return to St Domingo. — 
On his arrival, he demanded the execution of decrees 
made in favor of his brethren, but either resisted or 
evaded by their white oppressors. His plea, founded in 
justice, and sanctioned by Divine authority, was rejected. 
The parties became exasperated, and an attack ensued. 
The Spanish government basely and wickedly delivered 
Oge to his enemies. He asked for a defender to plead 
his cause ; but he asked in vain. Thirteen of his com- 
panions were condemned to the galleys ; more than 
twenty to the gibbet ; and Oge and Chavanne w T ere tor- 
tured on the wheel. 

Where rests the guilt in this case ? Let those blame 
Oge, who can, My heart and conscience both refuse to 
do it. 

Toussaint & Ouverture, the celebrated black chieftain, 
was born a slave, in the year 1745, upon the plantation 
of Count de Noe. His amiable deportment as a slave, 
the patience, mildness, and benevolence of his disposi- 
tion, and the purity of his conduct amid the general 
laxity of morals which prevailed in the island, gained for 
him many of those advantages which afterwards gave 
him such absolute ascendency over his insurgent breth- 
ren. His good qualities attracted the attention of M. 
Bayou de Libertas, the agent on the estate, who taught 
him reading, writing, and arithmetic, • — elements of 
knowledge, which hardly one in ten thousand of his fel- 
low slaves possessed. M. Bayou made him his postillion, 
which gave him advantages much above those of the field 
slaves. When the general rising of the blacks took 
place, in 1791, much solicitation was used to induce 
Toussaint to join them ; but he declined, until he had 
procured an opportunity for the escape of M. Bayou and 
his family to Baltimore, shipping a considerable quantity 
of sugar for the supply of their immediate wants. In his 
subsequent prosperity, he availed himself of every occa- 
sion to give them new marks of his gratitude. Having 
thus provided security for his benefactor, he joined a 
corps of blacks, under the orders of General Biassou ; 
but was soon raised to the principal command, Biassou 


being degraded on account of his cruelty and ferocity. 
Indeed, Toussaint was every way so much superior to 
the other negroes, by reason of his general intelligence 
and education, his prudence, activity and address, not 
less than his bravery, that he immediately attained a 
complete ascendency over all the black chieftains. In 
1797, Toussaint received from the French government a 
commission of General-in-Chief of the armies of St Do- 
mingo, and as such signed the convention with General 
Maitland for the evacuation of the island by the British. 
From 1798 until 180), the island continued tranquil 
under the government of Toussaint, who adopted and 
enforced the most judicious measures for healing the 
wounds of his country, and restoring its commercial and 
agricultural prosperity. His efforts would have been 
attended with much success, but for the ill-judged expe- 
dition, which Bonaparte sent against the island, under 
the command of Le Clerc. This expedition, fruitless as 
it was in respect of its general object, proved fatal to 
the negro chieftain. 

Toussaint was noted for private virtues ; among the rest, 
warm affection for his family. Le Clerc brought out from 
France Toussaint' s two sons, with their preceptor, whose 
orders were to carry his pupils to their father, and make 
use of them to work on his tenderness, and induce 
him to abandon his countrymen. If he yielded, he was 
to be made second in command to Le Clerc ; if he re- 
fused, his children were to be reserved as hostages of his 
fidelity to the French. Notwithstanding the greatness 
of the sacrifice demanded of him, Toussaint remained 
faithful to his brethren. We pass over the details of the 
war, which at length, ended in a treaty of peace con- 
cluded by Toussaint, Dessalines and Christophe, against 
their better judgment, but in consequence of the effect 
of Le Clerc's professions upon their simple followers, 
who were induced to lay down their arms. Toussaint 
retired to his plantation, relying upon the solemn assu- 
rances of Le Clerc, that his person and property should 
be held sacred. Nothwithstanding these assurances, he 
was treacherously seized in the night, hurried on board 
a ship of war, and conveyed to Brest. He was con- 


ducted first to close prison in Chateaux de Joux, and 
from thence to Besancon, where he was plunged into a 
cold, wet, subterranean prison, which soon proved fatal 
to a constitution used only to the warm skies and free 
air of the West Indies. He languished through the win- 
ter of 1802-1803 ; and his death, which happened in 
April, 1803, raised a cry of indignation against the gov- 
ernment, which had chosen this dastardly method of 
destroying one of the best and bravest of the negro race* 

Toussaint L'Ouverture is thus spoken of by Vincent, 
in his Reflections on the state of St Domingo : " Tous- 
saint L'Ouverture is the most active and indefatigable 
man, of whom it is possible to form an idea. He is 
always present wherever difficulty or danger makes his 
presence necessary. His great sobriety, — the power of 
living without repose, — the facility with which he re- 
sumes the affairs of the cabinet, after the most tiresome 
excursions, — of answering daily a hundred letters, — 
and of habitually tiring five secretaries — render him so 
superior to all around him, that their respect and submis- 
sion almost amount to fanaticism. It is certain no man 
in modern times has obtained such an influence over a 
mass of ignorant people, as General Toussaint possesses 
over his brethren of St Domingo. He is endowed with 
a prodigious memory. He is a good father and a gooc| 

Toussaint re-established religious worship in St Dch 
mingo ; and on account of his zeal in this respect, a cer^ 
tain class of men called him, in derision, the Capuchin, 

With the genius and energy of Bonaparte, General 
Toussaint is said to have, possessed the same political 
duplicity, and far-sighted cunning. These are qualities 
which almost inevitably grew out of the peculiar circum* 
stances in which they were placed, and the obstacles 
with which they were obliged to contend. 

Wordsworth addressed the following sonnet to Tous-* 
saint L'Ouverture : 

" Toussaint, thou most unhappy man of men ! 
Whether the whistling rustic tends his plough 
Within thy hearing, or thou liest now- 
Buried in some deep dungeon's earless den ] — 


O, miserable chieftain ! where and when 

Wilt thou find patience ? Yet die not ; do thou 

Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow : 

Though fallen thyself, never to rise again, 

Live, and take comfort. Thou has left behind 

Powers that will work for thee ; air, earth, and skies ; 

There 's not a breathing of the common wind 

That will forget thee ; thou hast great allies. 

Thy friends are exultations, agonies, 

And love, and man's unconquerable mind." 

Godwin, in his admirable Lectures on Colonial Slavery, 
says : " Can the West India islands, since their first dis- 
covery by Columbus, boast a single name which deserves 
comparison with that of Toussaint L'Ouverture ?" 

If we are willing to see and believe, we have full op- 
portunity to convince ourselves that the colored popula- 
tion are highly susceptible of cultivation. St Domingo 
produces black legislators, scholars, and gentlemen. — 
The very negroes who had been slaves, formed a consti- 
tution that would do credit to paler-faced statesmen — 
Americans may well blush at its consistent republicanism. 
The enemies of true freedom were very ready to predict 
that the government of Hayti could not continue for any 
length of time ; but it has now lasted nearly thirty years, 
constantly increasing in respectability and wealth. The 
affairs of Greece have been managed with much less 
ability and discretion, though all the cabinets of Europe 
have given assistance and advice. St Domingo achieved 
her independence alone and unaided — nay, in the very 
teeth of prejudice and scorn. The Greeks had loans 
from England, and contributions from America, and 
sympathy from half the world ; the decisive battle of 
Navarino was gained by the combined fleets of England, 
France and Russia. Is it asked why Hayti has not pro- 
duced any examples of splendid genius ? In reply let me 
inquire, how long did the Europeans ridicule us for our 
poverty in literature ? When Raynal reproached the 
United States with not having produced one celebrated 
man, Jefferson requested him to wait until we had existed 
" as long as the Greeks before they had a Homer, the 
Romans a Virgil, and the French a Racine." Half a 
century elapsed before our republic produced Irving, 
Cooper, Sedgwick, Halleck, and Bryant. We must not 




forgot that the cruel prejudice, under which colored 
people labor, makes it extremely difficult for them to 
gain admission to the best colleges and schools ; they are 
obliged to contend with obstacles, which white men never 

It might seem wonderful that the descendants of wise 
Ethiopia, and learned Egypt, are now in such a state of 
degradation, if history did not furnish a remarkable 
parallel in the condition of the modern Greeks. The 
land of Homer, Pericles, and Plato, is now inhabited by 
ignorant, brutal pirates. Freedom made the Grecians 
great and glorious — tyranny has made them stupid and 
miserable. Yet their yoke has been light, compared 
with African bondage. In both cases the wrongs of the 
oppressed have been converted into an argument against 
them. We first debase the nature of man by making 
him a slave, and then very coolly tell him that he must 
always remain a slave because he does not know how to 
use freedom. We first crush people to the earth, and 
then claim the right of trampling on them forever, because 
they are prostrate. Truly, human selfishness never 
invented a rule, which worked so charmingly both ways ! 

No one thinks of doubting the intellect of Indians ; 
yet civilization has certainly advanced much farther in 
the interior of Africa, than it did among the North 
American tribes. The Indians have strong untutored 
eloquence, — so have the Africans. And where will you 
find an Indian chieftain, whose pride, intellect, and 
valor, are more than a match for Zhinga's ? Both of these 
classes have been most shamefully wronged ; but public 
prejudice, which bows the negro to the earth, has borne 
with a far less crushing power upon the energies of the 
red man ; yet they have not produced a Shakspeare or 
a Newton. But I shall be asked how it is that the na- 
tions of Africa, having proceeded so far in the arts of 
civilization, have made a full stop, and remained century 
after century without any obvious improvement ? I will 
answer this by another question : How long did the an- 
cient Helvetians, Gauls, and Saxons remain in such a state 
of barbarism, that what they considered splendor and re- 


iinement, would be called poverty and rudeness, by 
their German, French, and English descendants 1 — 
What was it that changed the intellectual and moral 
character of these people, after ages of ignorance and 
ferocity 1 It was the art of printing. But, alas, with 
the introduction of printing, modern slavery was intro- 
duced ! While commerce has carried books and maps 
to other portions of the globe, she has sent kidnappers, 
with guns and cutlasses into Africa. We have not 
preached the Gospel of peace to her princes ; we have 
incited them to make war upon each other, to fill our 
markets with slaves. While knowledge, like a mighty 
pillar of fire, has guided the European nations still onward, 
and onward, a dark cloud has settled more and more 
gloomily over benighted Africa. The lessons of time, the 
experience of ages, from which we have learned so much, 
are entirely lost to this vast continent. 

I have heard it asserted that the Indians were evi- 
dently superior to the negroes, because it was impossible 
to enslave them. Our slave laws prove that there are 
some exceptions to this remark ; and it must be remem- 
bered that the Indians have been fairly met in battle, 
contending with but one nation at a time ; while the 
whole world have combined against the Africans — send- 
ing emissaries to lurk for them in secret places, or steal 
them at midnight from their homes. The Indian will 
seek freedom in the arms of death — and so will the 
negro. By thousands and thousands, these poor people 
have died for freedom. They have stabbed themselves 
for freedom — jumped into the waves for freedom 
— starved for freedom — fought like very tigers for 
freedom ! But they have been hung, and burned, 
and shot — and their tyrants have been their historians ! 
When the Africans have writers of their own, we shall 
hear their efforts for liberty called by the true title of 
heroism in a glorious cause. We are told in the fable 
that a lion, looking at the picture of one of his own spe- 
cies, conquered and trampled on by man, calmly said, 
" We lions have no painters." 

I shall be told that in the preceding examples I have 
shown only the bright side of the picture. I readily 


grant it ; but I have deemed it important to show that 
the picture has a bright side. I am well aware that most 
of the negro authors are remarkable, principally because 
they are negroes. With considerable talent, they gener- 
ally evince bad taste. I do not pretend that they are 
Scotts or Miltons ; but I wish to prove that they are men, 
capable of producing their proportion of Scotts and Mil- 
tons, if they could be allowed to live in a state of physical 
and intellectual freedom. But where, at the present 
time, can they live in perfect freedom, cheered by the 
hopes and excited by the rewards, which stimulate white 
men to exertion 1 Every avenue to distinction is closed 
to them. Even where the body is suffered to be free, a 
hateful prejudice keeps the soul in fetters. I think every 
candid mind must admit that it is more wonderful they 
have done so much, than that they have done no more. 

As a class, I am aware that the negroes, with many 
honorable exceptions, are ignorant, and show little dis- 
position to be otherwise ; but this ceases to be the case 
just in proportion as they are free. The fault is in their 
unnatural situation, not in themselves. Tyranny always 
dwarfs the intellect. Homer tells us, that when Jupiter 
condemns a man to slavery, he takes from him half his 
mind. A family of children treated with habitual vio- 
lence or contempt, become stupid and sluggish, and are 
called fools by the very parents or guardians who have 
crushed their mental energies. It was remarked by M. 
Dupuis, the British Consul at Mogadore, that the gener- 
ality of Europeans, after a long captivity and severe treat- 
ment among the Arabs, seemed at first exceedingly dull 
and insensible. " If they had been any considerable 
time in slavery," says he, " they appeared lost to reason 
and feeling ; their spirits broken ; and their faculties 
sunk in a species of stupor, which I am unable adequate- 
ly to describe. They appeared degraded even below the 
negro slave. The succession of hardships, without any 
protecting law to which they can appeal for alleviation, 
or redress, seems to destroy every spring of exertion, or 
hope in their minds. They appear indifferent to every- 
thing around them ; abject, servile, and brutish." 

Lieutenant Hall, in his Travels in the United States, 



makes the following just remark : " Cut off hope for the 
future, and freedom for the present ; superadd a due 
pressure of bodily suffering, and personal degradation ; 
and you have a slave, who, (of whatever zone, nation or 
complexion,) will be what the poor'African is, torpid, de- 
based, and lowered beneath the standard of humanity." 

The great Virginian, Patrick Henry, who certainly 
had a fair chance to observe the effects of slavery, says, 
" If a man be in chains, he droops and bows to the earth, 
because his spirits are broken ; but let him twist the 
fetters off his legs and he will stand erect." 

The following is the testimony of the Rev. R. Walsh, 
on the same subject ; he is describing his first arrival at 
Rio Janeiro : / 

" The whole labor of bearing and moving burdens is 
performed by these people, and the state in which they 
appear is revolting to humanity. Here was a number of 
beings entirely naked, with the exception of a covering 
of dirty rags tied about their waists. Their skins, from 
constant exposure to the weather, had become hard, 
crusty, and seamed, resembling the coarse black cover- 
ing of some beast, or like that of an elephant, a wrinkled 
hide scattered with scanty hairs. On contemplating 
their persons you saw them with a physical organization 
resembling beings of a grade below the rank of man ; 
long projecting heels, the gastronymic muscle wanting, 
and no calves to their legs ; their mouths and chins pro- 
truded, their noses flat, their foreheads retiring, having 
exactly the head and legs of the baboon tribe. Some of 
these beings were yoked to drays, on which they dragged 
heavy burdens. Some were chained by the necks and 
legs, and moved with loads thus encumbered. Some 
followed each other in ranks, with heavy weights on their 
heads, chattering the most inarticulate and dismal ca- 
dence as they moved along. Some were munching young 
sugar-canes, like beasts of burden eating green proven- 
der ; and some were seen near the water, lying on the 
bare ground among filth and offal, coiled up like dogs, 
and seeming to expect or require no more comfort or ac- 
commodation, exhibiting a state and conformation so 
unhuman, that they not only seemed, but actually were, 



far below the inferior animals around them. Horses and 
mules were not employed in this way ; they were used 
only for pleasure, and not labor. They were seen in the 
same streets, pampered, spirited, and richly caparisoned, 
enjoying a state far superior to the negroes, and ap- 
pearing to look down on the fettered and burdened 
wretches they were passing, as on beings of an inferior 
rank in the creation. Some of the negroes actually 
seemed to envy the caparisons of their fellow brutes, and 
eyed with jealousy their glittering harness. In imita- 
tion of this finery, they were fond of thrums of many col- 
ored threads ; and I saw one creature, who supported the 
squalid rag that wrapped his waist by a suspender of 
gaudy worsted, which he turned every moment to look at, 
on his naked shoulder. The greater number, however, 
were as unconscious of any covering for use or ornament, 
as a pig or an ass. 

" The first impression of all this on my mind, was to 
shake the conviction I had always felt, of the wrong and 
hardship inflicted on our black fellow-creatures, and that 
they were only in that state which God and nature had 
assigned them ; that they were the lowest grade of hu- 
man existence, and the link that connected it with the 
brute ; and that the gradation was so insensible, and 
their natures so intermingled, that it was impossible to 
tell where one had terminated and the other commenced ; 
and that it was not surprising that people who contem- 
plated them every day, so formed, so employed, and so 
degraded, should forget their claims to that rank in the 
scale of being in which modern philanthropists are so 
anxious to place them. I did not at the moment myself 
recollect, that the white man, made a slave on the coast 
of Africa, suffers not only a similar mental but physical 
deterioration from hardships and emaciation, and be- 
comes in time the dull and deformed beast I now saw 
yoked to a burden. 

" A few hours only were necessary to correct my first 
impressions of the negro population, by seeing them un- 
der a different aspect. We were attracted by the sound 
of military music, and found it proceeded from a regi- 
ment drawn up in one of the streets. Their colonel had 


just died, and they attended to form a procession to cele- 
brate his obsequies. They were all of different shades 
of black, but the majority were negroes. Their equip- 
ment was excellent ; they wore dark jackets, white pan- 
taloons, and black leather caps and belts, all which, with 
their arms, were in high order. Their band produced 
sweet and agreeable music, of the leader's own composi- 
tion, and the men went through some evolutions with 
regularity and dexterity. They were only a militia regi- 
ment, yet were as well appointed and disciplined as 
one of our regiments of the line. Here then was the first 
step in that gradation by which the black population of this 
country ascend in the scale of humanity ; he advances 
from the state below that of a beast of burden into a mili- 
tary rank, and he shows himself as capable of discipline 
and improvement as a human being of any other color. 

" Our attention was next attracted by negro men and 
women bearing about a variety of articles for sale ; some 
in baskets, some on boards and cases carried on their 
heads. They belonged to a class of small shopkeepers, 
many of whom vend their wares at home, but the greater 
number send them about in this way, as in itinerant 
shops. A few of these people were still in a state of 
bondage, and brought a certain sum every evening to 
their owners, as the produce of their daily labor. But a 
large proportion, I was informed, were free, and exer- 
cised this little calling on their own account. They 
were all very neat and clean in their persons, and 
had a decorum and sense of respectability about them, 
superior to whites of the same class and calling. All 
their articles were good in their kind and neatly kept, 
and they sold them with simplicity and confidence, 
neither washing to take advantage of others, nor suspect- 
ing that it would be taken of themselves. I bought some 
confectionary from one of the females, and I was struck 
with the modesty and propriety of her manner ; she was 
a young mother, and had with her a neatly dressed child, 
of which she seemed very fond. I gave it a little comfit, 
and it turned up its dusky countenance to her and then 
to me, taking my sweetmeat and at the same time kissing 
my hand. As yet unacquainted with the coin of the 


country, I had none that was current about me, and was 
leaving the articles ; but the poor young woman pressed 
them on me with a ready confidence, repeating in broken 
Portuguese, onto tempo. I am sorry to say, the ' other 
time' never came, for I could not recognise her person 
afterwards to discharge her little debt, though I went to 
the same place for the purpose. 

" It soon began to grow dark, and I was attracted by a 
number of persons bearing large lighted wax tapers, like 
torches, gathering before a house. As I passed by, one 
was put into my hand by a man who seemed in some 
authority, and I was requested to fall into a procession 
that was forming. It was the preparation for a funeral, 
and on such occasions, I learned that they always request 
the attendance of a passing stranger, and feel hurt if they 
are refused. I joined the party, and proceeded with 
them to a neighboring church. When we entered we 
ranged ourselves on each side of a platform which stood 
near the choir, on which was laid an open coffin, covered 
with pink silk and gold borders. The funeral service 
was chanted by a choir of priests, one of whom was a 
negro, a large comely man, whose jet black visage formed 
a strong and striking contrast to his white vestments. — 
He seemed to perform his part with a decorum and sense 
of solemnity, which I did not observe in his brethren. — 
After scattering flowers on the coffin, and fumigating it 
with incense, they retired, the procession dispersed, and 
we returned on board. 

" I had been but a few hours on shore for the first time, 
and I saw an African negro under four aspects of soci- 
ety ; and it appeared to me, that in every one his charac- 
ter depended on the state in which he was placed, and 
the estimation in which he was held. As a despised 
slave, he was far lower than other animals of burthen 
that surrounded him ; more miserable in his look, more 
revolting in his nakedness, more distorted in his person, 
and apparently more deficient in intellect, than the horses 
and mules that passed him by. Advanced to the grade 
of a soldier, he was clean and neat in his person, amena- 
ble to discipline, expert at his exercises, and showed the 
port and being of a white man similarly placed. As a 


citizen, he was remarkable for the respectability of his 
appearance, and the decorum of his manners in the rank 
assigned him ; and as a priest, standing in the house of 
God, appointed to instruct society on their most impor- 
tant interests, and in a grade in which moral and intel- 
lectual fitness is required, and a certain degree of supe- 
riority is expected, he seemed even more devout in his 
impressions, and more correct in his manners, than his 
white associates. I came, therefore, to the irresistible 
conclusion in my mind, that color was an accident affect- 
ing the surface of a man, and having no more to do with 
his qualities than his clothes — that God had equally 
created an African in the image of his person, and 
equally given him an immortal soul ; and that a Euro- 
pean had no pretext but his own cupidity, for impiously 
thrusting his fellow-man from that rank in the creation 
which the Almighty had assigned him, and degrading 
him below the lot of the brute beasts that perish. " 

The Hon. A. H. Everett, in his able work on the po- 
litical situation of America, says, " Nations, and races, 
like individuals, have their day, and seldom have a second. 
The blacks had a long and glorious one ; and after what 
they have been and done, it argues not so much a mis- 
taken theory, as sheer ignorance of the most notorious 
historical facts, to pretend that they are naturally inferior 
to the whites. It would seem indeed, that if any race 
have a right claim to a sort of preeminence over others, 
on the fair and honorable ground of talents displayed, 
and benefits conferred, it is precisely this very one, 
which we take upon us, in the pride of a temporary supe- 
riority, to stamp with the brand of essential degradation. 
It is hardly necessary to add, that while the blacks were 
the leading race in civilization and political power, there 
was no prejudice among the whites against their color. 
On the contrary, we find that the early Greeks regarded 
them as a superior variety of the human species, not only 
in intellectual and moral qualities, but in outward appear- 
ance. ' The Ethiopians,' says Herodotus, ' surpass all 
other men in longevity, stature, and personal beauty/ " 


Then let the slave-holder no longer apologize for himself 
by urging the stupidity and sensuality of negroes. It is 
upon the system, which thus transforms men into beasts, 
that the reproach rests in all its strength and bitterness. 
And even if the negroes were, beyond all doubt, our 
inferiors in intellect, this would form no excuse for op- 
pression, or contempt. The use of law and public opin- 
ion is to protect the weak against the strong ; and the 
government, which perverts these blessings into means 
of tyranny, resembles the priest, who, administered poi- 
son with the Holy Sacrament. 

Is there an American willing that the intellectual and 
the learned should bear despotic sway over the simple 
and the ignorant 1 If there be such an one, he may con- 
sistently vindicate our treatment of the Africans, 



" Fleecy locks and black complexion 

Cannot forfeit Nature's claim; 
Skins may differ, but affection 

Dwells in black and white the same. 

" Slaves of gold ! whose sordid dealings 

Tarnish all your boasted powers, 
Prove that you have human feelings, 

Ere you proudly question ours." 

The Negro's Complaint ; by Cowper. 

The opinion that negroes are naturally inferior in in- 
tellect is almost universal among white men ; but the 
belief that they are worse than other people, is, I believe, 
much less extensive : indeed, I have heard some, who 
were by no means admirers of the colored race, main- 
tain that they were very remarkable for kind feelings, 
and strong affections. Homer calls the ancient Ethio- 
pians " the most honest of men ;" and modern travellers 
have given innumerable instances of domestic tender- 
ness, and generous hospitality in the interior of Africa. 
Mungo Park informs us that he found many schools in 
his progress through the country, and observed with 
pleasure the great docility and submissive deportment of 
the children, and heartily wished they had better instruct- 
ed and a purer religion. 

The following is an account of his arrival at Jumbo, 
in company with a native of that place, who had been 
absent several years : " The meeting between the black- 
smith and his relations was very tender ; for these rude 
children of nature, free from restraint, display their emo- 
tions in the strongest and most expressive manner. — 
Amidst these transports, the aged mother was led forth, 
leaning upon a staff. Every one made way for her, and 


she stretched out her hand to bid her son welcome. Be- 
ing totally blind, she stroked his hands, arms, and face, 
with great care, and seemed highly delighted that her 
latter days were blessed by his return, and that her ears 
once more heard the music of his voice. From this in- 
terview, I was fully convinced, that whatever difference 
there is between the negro and the European, in the 
conformation of the nose, and the color of the skin y 
there is none in the genuine sympathies and character- 
istic feelings of our common nature*" 

At a small town in the interior, called Wawra, he 
says, " In the course of the day, several women, hearing 
that I was going to Sego, came and begged me to inquire 
of Mansong, the king, what was become of their child- 
ren. One woman, in particular, told me that her son's 
name was Mamadee ; that he was no heathen ; but 
prayed to God morning and evening ; that he had been 
taken from her about three years ago by Mansong's army, 
since which she had never heard from him. She said 
she often dreamed about Him, and begged me, if I should 
see him in Bambarra, or in my own country, to tell him 
that his mother and sister were still alive." 

At Sego, in Bambarra, the king, being jealous of Mr 
Park's intentions, forbade him to cross the river. Under 
these discouraging circumstances, he was advised to lodge 
at a distant village ; but there the same distrust of the 
white man's purposes prevailed, and no person would 
allow him to enter his house. He says, " I was regard- 
ed with astonishment and fear, and was obliged to sit all 
day without food, under the shade of a tree. The wind) 
rose, and there was great appearance of a heavy rain,, 
and the wild beasts are so very numerous in the neigh- 
borhood, that I should have been under the necessity of 
resting among the branches of the tree. About sunset, 
however, as I was preparing to pass the night in this 
manner, and had turned my horse loose, that he might 
graze at liberty, a woman, returning from the labors of 
the field, stopped to observe me. Perceiving that I was; 
weary and dejected, she inquired into my situation, 
which I briefly explained to her ; whereupon, with looks 
of great compassion, she took up my saddle and bridle 


and told me to follow her. Having conducted me into 
her hut, she lighted a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, 
and told me I might remain there for the night. Finding 
that I was hungry, she went out, and soon returned with 
a very fine fish, which being broiled upon some embers, 
she gave me for supper. The women then resumed 
their task of spinning cotton, and lightened their labor 
with songs, one of which must have been composed ex- 
tempore, for I was myself, the subject of it. It was sung 
by one of the young women, the rest joining in a kind of 
chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, 
literally translated, were these : 

" The winds roar'd, and the rains fell; 
The poor white man, faint and weary, 
Came and sat under our tree. — 
He has no mother to bring him milk ; 
No wife to grind his corn. 


"Let us pity the white man ; 

No mother has he to bring him milk, 

No wife to grind his corn." 

The reader can fully sympathize with this intelligent 
and liberal minded traveller, when he observes, " Tri- 
fling as this recital may appear, the circumstance was 
highly affecting to a person in my situation. I was op- 
pressed with such unexpected kindness, and sleep fled 
from my eyes. In the morning, I presented my com- 
passionate landlady with two of the four brass buttons 
remaining on my waistcoat; the only recompense I 
could make her." 

The Duchess of Devonshire, whose beauty and talent 
gained such extensive celebrity, was so much pleased 
with this African song, and the kind feelings in which 
it originated, that she put it into English verse, and em- 
ployed an eminent composer to set it to music : 

The loud wind roar'd, the rain fell fast; 
The white man yielded to the blast ; 
He sat him down beneath our tree, 
For weary, faint, and sad was he ; 


And ah, no wife or mother's care, 
For him the milk or corn prepare. 


The white man shall our pity share ; 
Alas, no wife, or mother's care, 
For him the milk or corn prepare. 

The storm is o'er, the tempest past, 
And mercy's voice has hush'd the blast ; 
The wind is heard in whispers low ; 
The white man far away must go j — 
But ever in his heart will bear 
Remembrance of the negro's care. 


Go, white man, go —but with thee bear 
The negro's wish, the negro's prayer, 
Remembrance of the negro's care. 

At another time, Mr Park thus continues his narrative : 
u A little before sunset, I descended on the northwest 
side of a ridge of hills, and as I was looking about for a 
convenient tree, under which to pass the night, (for I 
had no hopes of reaching any town) I descended into a 
delightful valley, and soon afterward arrived at a roman- 
tic village called Kooma. I was immediately surrounded 
by a circle of the harmless villagers. They asked me a 
thousand questions about my country, and in return for 
my information brought corn and milk for myself, and 
grass for my horse ; kindled a fire in the hut where I was 
to sleep, and appeared very anxious to serve me." 

Afterward, being robbed and stripped by banditti in 
the wilderness, he informs us that the robbers stood con- 
sidering whether they should leave him quite destitute ; 
even in their minds, humanity partially prevailed over 
avarice ; they returned the worst of two shirts, and a pair 
of trowsers ; and as they went away, one of them threw 
back his hat. At the next village, Mr Park entered a 
complaint to the Booty, or chief man, who continued 
very calmly smoking while he listened to the narration ; 
but when he had heard all the particulars, he took the 
pipe from his mouth, and tossing up the sleeve of his cloak 
with an indignant air, he said, " You shall have every- 
thing restored to you — I have sworn it." Then, turn- 


ing to an attendant, he added, " Give the white man a 
draught of water ; and with the first light of morning go 
over the hills, and inform the Dooty of Bammakoo, that 
a poor white man, the king of Banibarra's stranger, has 
been robbed by the king of Foolodoo's people." He 
then invited the traveller to remain with him, and share 
his provisions, until the messenger returned. Mr Park 
accepted the kind offer most gratefully : and in a few 
days his horse and clothes were restored to him. 

At the village of Nemacoo, where corn was so scarce 
that the people were actually in a state of starvation, a 
negro pitied his distress and brought him food. 

At Kamalia, Mr Park w T as earnestly dissuaded by an 
African named Karfa, from attempting to cross the Ja- 
lonka wilderness during the rainy reason ; to which he 
replied that there was no alternative — for he was so 
poor, that he must either beg his subsistence from place 
to place, or perish with hunger. Karfa eagerly inquired 
if he could eat the food of the country, adding that, if he 
would stay with him, he should have plenty of victuals, 
and a hut to sleep in ; and that after he had been safely 
conducted to the Gambia, he might make what return 
he thought proper. He was accordingly provided with a 
mat to sleep on, an earthen jar for holding water, a 
small calabash for a drinking cup, and two meals a day, 
with a supply of wood and water, from Karfa's own 
dwelling. Here he recovered from a fever, which had 
tormented him several weeks. His benevolent landlord 
came daily to inquire after his health, and see that he 
had everything for his comfort. Mr Park assures us 
that the simple and affectionate manner of those around 
him contributed not a little to his recovery. He adds, 
" Thus was I delivered, by the friendly care of this be- 
nevolent negro, from a situation truly deplorable. Dis- 
tress and famine pressed hard upon me ; I had before 
me the gloomy wilderness of Jallonkadoo, where the 
traveller sees no habitation for five successive days. I 
had observed, at a distance, the rapid course of the river 
Kokaro, and had almost marked out the place where I 
thought I was doomed to perish, when this friendly negro 
stretched out his hospitable hand for my relief." Mr 



Park having travelled in company with a coffle of thirty- 
live slaves, thus describes his feelings as they came near 
the coast : " Although I was now approaching the end 
of my tedious and toilsome journey, and expected in an- 
other day to meet with countrymen and friends, I could 
not part with my unfortunate fellow travellers, — doomed 
as I knew most of them to be, to a life of slavery in a 
foreign land, — - without great emotion. During a pere- 
grination of more than five hundred miles, exposed to 
the burning rays of a tropical sun, these poor slaves, 
amidst their own infinitely greater sufferings, would 
commiserate mine, and frequently, of their own accord, 
bring water to quench my thirst, and at night collect 
branches and leaves to prepare me a bed in the wilder- 
ness. We parted with mutual regret and blessings. — 
My good wishes and prayers were all I could bestow 
upon them, and it afforded me some consolation to be 
told that they were sensible I had no more to give." 

The same enlightened traveller remarks, " All the 
negro nations that fell under my observation, though di- 
vided into a number of petty, independent states, subsist 
chiefly by the same means, live nearly in the same tem- 
perature, and possess a wonderful similarity of disposition. 
The Mandingoes, in particular, are a very gentle race, 
cheerful, inquisitive, credulous, simple, and fond of 
flattery. Perhaps the most prominent defect in their 
character, was that insurmountable propensity, which 
the reader must have observed to prevail in all classes, to 
steal from me the few effects I was possessed of. No 
complete justification can be offered for this conduct, 
because theft is a crime in their own estimation ; and it 
must be observed that they are not habitually and gen- 
erally guilty of it towards each other. But before we pro- 
nounce them a more depraved people than any other, it 
were well to consider, whether the lower class of people 
in any part of Europe, would have acted, under similar 
circumstances, with greater honesty towards a stranger. 
It must be remembered that the laws of the country af- 
forded me no protection ; that every one was permitted 
to rob me with impunity ; and that some part of my ef- 
fects were of as great value in the estimation of the 


negroes, as pearls and diamonds would have been in the 
eyes of a European. Let us suppose a black merchant 
of Hindostan had found his way into England, with a 
box of jewels at his back, and the laws of the kingdom 
afforded him no security — in such a case, the wonder 
would be. not that the stranger was robbed of any part of 
his riches, but that any part was left for a second depre- 
dator.* Such, on sober reflection, is the judgment I have 
formed concerning the pilfering disposition of the Man- 
dingo negroes toward me. 

" On the other hand, it is impossible for me to forget 
the disinterested charity, and tender solicitude, with 
which many of these poor heathens, from the sovereign 
of Sego, to the poor women, who at different times 
received me into their cottages, sympathized with my 
sufferings, relieved my distress, and contributed to my 
safety. Perhaps this acknowledgment is more particu- 
larly due to the female part of the nation. Among 
the men, as the reader must have seen, my reception, 
though generally kind, was sometimes otherwise. Tt 
varied according to the tempers of those to whom I made 
application. Avarice in some, and bigotry in others, had 
closed up the avenues to compassion; but I do not recol- 
lect a single instance of hard-heartedness towards me in 
the women. In all my wanderings and wretchedness, I 
found them uniformly kind and compassionate ; and I 
can truly say, as Mr Ledyard has eloquently said before 
me — 'To a woman, I never addressed myself in the lan- 
guage of decency and friendship, without receiving a de- 
cent and friendly answer. If I was hungry, or thirsty, 
wet, or ill, they did not hesitate, like the men, to perform 
a generous action. In so free and so kind a manner, did 
they contribute to my relief, that if I were dry, I drank 
the sweeter draught ; and if I were hungry, I ate the 
coarsest meal with a double relish.' 

"It is surely reasonable to suppose that the soft and 
amiable sympathy of nature, thus spontaneously mani- 
fested to me in my distress, is displayed by these poor 
people as occasion requires, much more strongly toward 

* Or suppose a colored pedler with valuable goods travelling in 
slave states, where the laws afford little or no protection to negro 
property, what would probably be his fate ? 


those of their own nation and neighborhood. Maternal 
affection, neither suppressed by the restraints, nor divert- 
ed by the solicitudes of civilized life, is everywhere con- 
spicuous among them, and creates reciprocal tenderness 
in the child. ' Strike me, 5 said a negro to his master, 
who spoke disrespectfully of his parent,' but do not curse 
my mother.' The same sentiment I found to prevail 
universally. " 

" I perceived, with great satisfaction, that the maternal 
solicitude extended not only to growth and security of 
the person, but also, in a certain degree, to the improve- 
ment of the character ; for one of the first lessons, which 
the Mandingo women teach their children is the practice 
of truth. A poor unhappy mother, whose son had been 
murdered by Moorish banditti, found consolation in her 
deepest distress from the reflection that her boy, in the 
whole course of his blameless life, had never told a lie." 

Adanson, who visited Senegal, in 1754, describes the 
negroes as sociable, obliging, humane, and hospitable. 
" Their amiable simplicity/ 5 says he, " in this enchant- 
ing country, recalled to me the idea of the primitive 
race of man • I thought I saw the world in its infancy. 
They are distinguished by tenderness for their parents, 
and great respect for the aged." Robin speaks of a slave 
at Martinico, who having gained money sufficient for his 
own ransom, preferred to purchase his mother's freedom. 

Proyaft, in his history of Loango, acknowledges that 
the negroes on the coast, who associate with Europeans, 
are inclined to licentiousness and fraud ; but he says 
those of the interior are humane, obliging, and hospitable. 
Golberry repeats the same praise, and rebukes the pre- 
sumption of white men in despising " nations improperly 
called savage, among whom we find men of integrity, 
models of filial, conjugal, and paternal affection, who 
know ail the energies and refinements of virtue ; 
among whom sentimental impressions are more deep, be- 
cause they observe, more than we, the dictates of nature, 
and know how to sacrifice personal interest to the ties 
of friendship." 

Joseph Rachel, a free negro of Barbadoes, having be- 
come rich by commerce, consecrated all his fortune to 
acts of charity and beneficence. The unfortunate of all 


colors, shared his kindness. He gave to the needy, lent 
without hope of return, visited prisoners, and endeavor- 
ed to reform the guilty. He died in 1758. The philan- 
thropists of England speak of him with the utmost 

Jasmin Thoumazeau was born in Africa, 1714, and 
sold at St Domingo, 1736. Having obtained his freedom, 
he returned to his native country, and married a negro 
girl of the Gold Coast. In ] 756, he established a hospi- 
tal for poor negroes and mulattoes. During more than 
forty years, he and his wife devoted their time and for- 
tune to the comfort of such invalids as sought their pro- 
tection. The Philadelphian Society, at the Cape, and the 
Agricultural Society of Paris, decreed medals to this 
worthy and benevolent man. 

Louis Desrouleaux was the slave of M. Pinsurn, a cap~ 
tain in the negro trade, who resided at St Domingo. 
The master having amassed great riches, went to reside 
in France, where circumstances combined to ruin him. 
Depressed in fortune and spirits, he returned to St Do- 
mingo ; but those who had formerly been proud of his 
friendship, now avoided him. Louis heard of his mis- 
fortunes and immediately went to see him. The scales 
were now turned ; the negro was rich, and the white 
man poor. The generous fellow offered every assistance, 
but advised M, Pinsurn by all means to return to France, 
where he would not be pained by the sight of ungrateful 
men. " But I cannot gain a living there," replied the 
white man. " Will the annual revenue of fifteen thousand 
francs be sufficient V asked Louis. The Frenchman's 
eyes filled with tears. The negro signed the contract, 
and the pension was regularly paid, till the death of 
Louis Desrouleaux, in 1774. 

Benoit of Palermo, also named Benoit of Santo Fra- 
tello, sometimes called The Holy Black, was a negro, 
and the son of a female slave. Roccho Pirro, author of 
the Sicilia Sacra, eulogizes him thus : " Nigro quidem 
corpore sed candore anirni prceclarisimus quern miraculis 
Deus contestatum esse voluit." " His body was black, 
but it pleased God to testify by miracles the whiteness of 
his soul." He died at Palermo, in 1589, where his tomb 
and memory are much revered. A few years ago, it was 



said the Pope was about to authorize his canonization. 
Whether he is yet registered as a saint in the Calendar, 
I know not ; but many writers agree that he was a saint 
indeed — eminent for his virtues, which he practised in 
meekness and silence, desiring no witness but his God. 

The moral character of Toussaint L'Guverture is even 
more worthy of admiration than his intellectual acute- 
ness. What can be more beautiful than his unchanging 
gratitude to his benefactor, his warm attachment to his 
family, his high-minded sacrifice of personal feeling to 
the public good ! He was a hero in the sublimest sense 
of the word. Yet he had no white blood in his veins — 
he was all negro. 

The following description of a slave-market at Brazil 
is from the pen of Doctor Walsh : " The men were gen- 
erally less interesting objects than the women ; their 
countenances and hues were very varied, according to 
the part of the African coast from which they came ; 
some were soot black, having a certain ferocity of aspect 
that indicated strong and fierce passions, like men who 
were darkly brooding over some deep-felt wrongs, and 
meditating revenge. When any one was ordered, he 
came forward with a sullen indifference, threw his arms 
over his head, stamped with his feet, shouted to show the 
soundness of his lungs, ran up and down the room, and 
was treated exactly like a horse put through his paces 
at a repository ; and when done, he was whipped to his 

" Many of them were lying stretched on the bare 
boards ; and among the rest, mothers with young child- 
ren at their breasts, of which they seemed passionately 
fond. They were all doomed to remain on the spot, 
like sheep in a pen, till they were sold ; they have no 
apartment to retire to, no bed to repose on, no covering 
to protect them ; they sit naked all day, and lie naked 
all night, on the bare boards, or benches, where we saw 
them exhibited. 

" Among the objects that attracted my attention in 
this place were some young boys, who seemed to have 
formed a society together. I observed several times in 
passing by, that the same little group was collected near 


a barred window ; they seemed very fond of each other, 
and their kindly feelings were never interrupted by peev- 
ishness ; indeed, the temperament of a negro child is gen- 
erally so sound, that he is not affected by those little mor- 
bid sensations, which are the frequent cause of crossness 
and ill-temper in our children. I do not remember, that I 
ever saw a young black fretful, or out of humor ; cer- 
tainly never displaying those ferocious fits of petty pas- 
sion, in which the superior nature of infant whites in- 
dulges. I sometimes brought cakes and fruit in my 
pocket, and handed them in to the group. It was quite de- 
lightful to observe the generous and disinterested manner 
in which they distributed them. There was no scramb- 
ling with one another ; no selfish reservation to them- 
selves. The child to whom I happened to give them, 
took them so gently, looked so thankfully, and distributed 
them so generously, that I could not help thinking that 
God had compensated their dusky hue, by a more than 
usual human portion of amiable qualities." 

Several negroes in Jamaica were to be hung. One of 
them was offered his life, if he would hang the others ; 
he preferred death. A negro slave who was ordered to 
do it, asked time to prepare ; he went into his cabin, 
chopped off his right hand with an axe, and then came 
back, saying he was ready. 

Sutcliff in his Travels, speaks of meeting a coffle of 
slaves in Maryland, one of whom had voluntarily gone 
into slavery, in hopes of meeting her husband, who was 
a free black and had been stolen by kidnappers. The 
poor creature was in treacherous hands, and it is a great 
chance whether she ever saw her husband again. 

An affecting instance of negro friendship may be found 
in 1 Bay's Report, 260-3. A female slave in South 
Carolina was allowed to work out in the town, on con- 
dition that she paid her master a certain sum of money, 
per month. Being strong and industrious, her wages 
amounted to more than had been demanded in their 
agreement. After a time she earned enough to buy her 
freedom ; but she preferred to devote the sum to the 
emancipation of a negro girl, named Sally, for whom she 
had conceived a strong affection. For a long time the 


master pretended to have no property in his slave's man- 
umitted friend, never paid taxes for her, and often spoke 
of her as a free negro. But, from some motive or other, 
he afterward claimed Sally as his slave, on the ground 
that no slave could make any purchase on his own ac- 
count, or possess anything which did not legally belong 
to his master. It is an honor to Chief Justice Rutledge 
that his charge was given in a spirit better than the laws. 
He concluded by saying, " If the wench chose to appro- 
priate the savings of her extra labor to the purchase of this 
girl, in order to set her free, will a jury of the country 
say, No ? I trust not. I hope they are too upright and 
humane, to do such manifest violence to such an extra- 
ordinary act of benevolence." By the prompt decision 
of the jury, Sally was declared free.* 

In speaking of the character of negroes, it ought not 
to be omitted that many of them were brave and faithful 
soldiers during our Revolution. Some are now receiving 
pensions for their services. At New Orleans, likewise, 
the conduct of the colored troops was deserving of the 
highest praise. 

It is common to speak of the negroes as a very unfeel- 
ing race ; and no doubt the charge has considerable 
truth when applied to those in a state of bondage ; for 
slavery blunts the feelings, as well as stupifies the intel- 
lect. The poor negro is considered as having no right 
in his wife and children. They may be suddenly torn 
from him to be sold in a distant market ; but he cannot 
prevent the wrong. He may see them exposed to every 
species of insult and indignity ; but the law, which 
stretches forth her broad shield to guard the white man's 
rights, excludes the negro from her protection. They 
may be tied to the whipping post and die under moderate 
punishment ; but he dares not complain. If he murmur, 
there is the tormenting lash ; if he resist, it is death. — 
And the injustice extends even beyond the grave ; for 
the story of the slave is told by his oppressor, and the 
manly spirit which the poor creature shows, when stung 

*Strond says of the above, " This is an isolated case, of pretty 
early date ; it deserves to be noticed because it is in opposition to 
the spirit of the laws, and to later decisions of the courts." 


to the very heart's core, is represented as diabolical re- 
venge. A short time ago, I read in a Georgia paper, 
what was called a horrid transaction, on the part of the 
negro. A slave stood by and saw his wife whipped, as 
long as he could possibly endure the sight ; he then called 
out to the overseer, who was applying the lash, that he 
would kill him if he did not use more mercy. This 
probably made matters worse ; at all events the lashing 
continued. The husband, goaded to frenzy, rushed upon 
the overseer, and stabbed him three times. White men ! 
what would you do, if the laws admitted that your wives 
might " die" of" moderate punishment ," administered by 
your employers 1 The overseer died, and his murderer 
was either burned or shot, — I forget which. The 
Georgia editor viewed the subject only on one side — ► 
viz. — the monstrous outrage against the white man — 
the negro's wrongs passed for nothing ! It was very 
gravely added to the account (probably to increase the 
odiousness of the slave's offence,) that the overseer be- 
longed to the Presbyterian church ! I smiled, - because it 
made me think of a man, whom I once heard described 
as " a most excellent Christian, that would steal timber to 
build a church." 

This instance shows that even slaves are not quite des- 
titute of feeling — yet we could not wonder at it, if they 
were. Who could expect the kindly affections to expand 
in such an atmosphere ! Where there is no hope, the 
heart becomes paralyzed : it is a merciful arrangement 
of Divine Providence, by which the acuteness of sensi- 
bility is lessened when it becomes merely a source of suf- 

But there are exceptions to this general rule ; instan- 
ces of very strong and deep affection are sometimes 
found in a state of hopeless bondage. Godwin, in his 
eloquent Lectures on Colonial Slavery, quotes the fol- 
lowing anecdote, as related by Mr T. Pennock, at a pub- 
lic meeting in England : 

" A few years ago it was enacted, that it should not 
be legal to transport once established slaves from one 
island to another ; and a gentleman owner, finding it 
advisable to do so before the act came in force, the re* 


moval of a great part of his live stock was the conse- 
quence. He had a female slave, a Methodist, and highly 
valuable to him (not the less so for being the mother of 
eight or nine children), whose husband, also of our con- 
nexion, was the property of another resident on the 
island, where I happened to be at the time. Their mas- 
ters not agreeing on a sale, separation ensued, and I 
went to the beach to be an eye witness of their behaviour 
in the greatest pang of all. One by one, the man kissed 
his children, with the firmness of a hero, and blessing 
them, gave as his last words — (oh! will it be believed, 
and have no influence upon our veneration for the ne- 
gro ?) ' Farewell ! Be honest, and obedient to your mas- 
ter /' At length he had to take leave of his wife : there 
he stood (I have him in my mind's eye at this moment), 
five or six yards from the mother of his children, unable 
to move, speak, or do anything but gaze, and still to gaze, 
on the object of his long affection, soon to cross the blue 
waves forever from his aching sight. The fire of his 
eyes alone gave indication of the passion within, until 
after some minutes standing thus, he fell senseless on the 
sand, as if suddenly struck down by the hand of the Al- 
mighty. Nature could do no more ; the blood gushed 
from his nostrils and mouth, as if rushing from the ter- 
rors of the conflict within ; and amid the confusion occa- 
sioned by the circumstance, the vessel bore off his family 
forever from the island ! After some days he recovered, 
and came to ask advice of me. What could an English- 
man do in such a case ? I felt the blood boiling within 
me ; but I conquered. I browbeat my own manhood, 
and gave him the humblest advice I could." 

The following account is given by Mr Gilgrass, one 
of the Methodist missionaries at Jamaica: " A master 
of slaves, who lived near us in Kingston, exercised his 
barbarities on a Sabbath morning while we were worship- 
ing God in the Chapel ; and the cries of the female 
sufferers have frequently interrupted us in our devotions. 
But there was no redress for them, or for us. This man 
wanted money ; and one of the female slaves having two 
fine children, he sold one of them, and the child was 
torn from her maternal affection. In the agony of her 


feelings, she made a hideous howling ; and for that 
crime she was flogged. Soon after he sold her other 
child. This ' turned her heart within her/ and impelled 
her into a kind of madness. She howled night and day 
in the yard ; tore her hair ; ran up and down the streets 
and the parade, rending the heavens with her cries, and 
literally watering the earth with her tears. Her con- 
stant cry was, ' Da wicked massa, he sell me children. — 
Will no buclcra master pity nega ? What me do ! Me 
have no child! 7 As she stood before my window, she 
said, lifting her hands towards heaven, ' Do, me master 
minister, pity me ! Me heart do so, (shaking herself 
violently,) me heart do so, because me have no child. Me 
go a massa house, in massa yard, and in me hut, and me 
no see em ;' and then her cry went up to God. I durst 
not be seen looking at her." 

A similar instance of strong affection happened in the 
city of Washington, December, 1815. A negro woman, 
with her two children, was sold, near Bladensburgh, to 
Georgia traders ; but the master refused to sell her hus- 
band. When the coffle reached Washington, on their way 
to Georgia, the poor creature attempted to escape, by jump- 
ing from the garret window of a three-story brick tavern. 
Her arms and back were dreadfully broken. When ask- 
ed why she had done such a desperate act, she replied, 
" They brought me away, and would n't let me see my hus- 
band; and I did n't want to go. I was so distracted that 
I did not know what I was about : but I didn't want to 
go — and I jumped out of the window." The unfortu- 
nate woman was given to the landlord as a compensation 
for having her taken care of at his house ; her children 
were sold in Carolina ; and thus was this poor forlorn 
being left alone in her misery. In all this wide land of 
benevolence and freedom, there was no one who could 
protect her : for in such cases, the laws come in, with 
iron grasp, to check the stirrings of human sympathy. 

Another complaint is that slaves have most inveterate 
habits of laziness. No doubt this is true — it would be 
strange indeed if it were otherwise. Where is the hu- 
man being, who will work from a disinterested love of 
toil, when his labor brings no improvement to himself, no 
increase of comfort to his wife and children ? 


Pelletan, in his Memoirs of the French Colony of Se- 
negal, says, " The negroes work with ardor, because 
they are now unmolested in their possessions and enjoy- 
ments. Since the suppression of slavery, the Moors 
make no more inroads upon them, and their villages are 
rebuilt and re-peopled. " Bosnian, who was by no means 
very friendly to colored people, says : " The negroes of 
Cabomonte and Juido, are indefatigable cultivators, 
economical of their soil, they scarcely leave a foot-path to 
form a communication between the different possessions ; 
they reap one day, and the next they sow the same earth, 
without allowing it time for repose." 

It is needless to multiply quotations ; for the concur- 
rent testimony of all travellers proves that industry is a 
common virtue in the interior of Africa. 

Again, it is said that the negroes are treacherous, cun- 
ning, dishonest, and profligate. Let me ask you, candid 
reader, what you would be, if you labored under the 
same unnatural circumstances ? The daily earnings of 
the slave, nay, his very wife and children, are constantly 
wrested from him, under the sanction of the laws; is 
this the way to teach a scrupulous regard to the property 
of others? How can purity be expected from him, who 
sees almost universal licentiousness prevail among those 
whom he is taught to regard as his superiors ? Besides, we 
must remember how entirely unprotected the negro is in 
his domestic relations, and how very frequently husband 
and wife are separated by the caprice, or avarice, of the 
white man. I have no doubt that slaves are artful ; for 
they must be so. Cunning is always the resort of the 
weak against the strong ; children, who have violent and 
unreasonable parents, become deceitful in self-defence. 
The only way to make young people sincere and frank, 
is to treat them with mildness and perfect justice. 

The negro often pretends to be ill in order to avoid 
labor ; and if you were situated as he is, you would do 
the same. But it is said that the blacks are malignant 
and revengeful. Granting it to be true, — is it their fault, 
or is it owing to the cruel circumstances in which they 
are placed 1 Surely there are proofs enough that they 
are naturally a kind and gentle people. True, they do 


sometimes murder their masters and overseers ; but where 
there is utter hopelessness, can we wonder at occasional 
desperation 1 I do not believe that any class of people 
subject to the same influences, would commit fewer 
crimes. Dickson, in his letters on slavery, informs us 
that among one hundred and twenty thousand negroes 
and Creoles of Barbadoes, only three murders have been 
known to be committed by them in the course of thirty 
years ; although often provoked by the cruelty of the 

In estimating the vices of slaves, there are several 
items to be taken into the account. In the first place, 
we hear a great deal of the negroes' crimes, while we 
hear very little of their provocations. If they murder 
their masters, newspapers and almanacs blazon it all over 
the country ; but if their masters murder them, a trifling 
fine is paid, and nobody thinks of mentioning the matter. 
I believe there are twenty negroes killed by white men, 
where there is one white man killed by a black. If you 
believe this to be mere conjecture, I pray you examine 
the Judicial Reports of the Southern States. The voice 
of humanity, concerning this subject, is weak and stifled ; 
and when a master kills his own slave we are not likely 
to hear the tidings — but the voice of avarice is loud and 
strong ; and it sometimes happens that negroes " die" 
" under a moderate punishment" administered by other 
hands : then prosecutions ensue, in order to recover the 
price of the slave ; and in this way we are enabled to 
form a tolerable conjecture concerning the frequency of 
such crimes. 

I have said that we seldom hear of the grievous wrongs 
which provoke the vengeance of the slave ; I will tell an 
anecdote, which I know to be true, as a proof in point. 
Within the last two years, a gentleman residing in Bos- 
ton, was summoned to the West Indies in consequence 
of troubles on his plantation. His overseer had been 
killed by the slaves. This fact was soon made public ; 
and more than one exclaimed, " what diabolical passions 
these negroes have !" To which I replied that I only 
wondered they were half as good as they were. It was 
not long, however, before I discovered the particulars of 



the case ; and I took some pains that the public should 
likewise be informed of them. The overseer was a bad 5 
licentious man. How long and how much the slaves en- 
dured under his power I know not, but at last, he took a 
fancy to two of the negroes' wives, ordered them to be 
brought to his house, and in spite of their entreaties and 
resistance, compelled them to remain as long as he 
thought proper. The husbands found their little huts 
deserted, and knew very well where the blame rested. 
In such a case, you would have gone to law ; but the law 
does not recognise a negro's rights — he is the property 
of his master, and subject to the will of his agent. If 
a slave should talk of being protected in his domestic re- 
lations, it would cause great merriment in a slave-holding 
State ; the proposition would be deemed equally inconve- 
nient and absurd. Under such circumstances, the negro 
husbands took justice into their own hands. They mur- 
dered the overseer. Four innocent slaves were taken 
up, and upon every slight circumstantial evidence were 
condemned to be shot ; but the real actors in this scene 
passed unsuspected. When the unhappy men found 
their companions were condemned to die, they avowed 
the fact, and exculpated all others from any share in the 
deed. Was not this true magnanimity ? Can you help 
respecting those negroes? If you can, I pity you. 

Since the condition of slaves is such as I have describ- 
ed, are you surprised at occasional insurrections ? You 
may regret it most deeply ; but can you wonder at it. 
The famous Captain Smith, when he was a slave in Tar- 
tary, killed his overseer and made his escape. I never 
heard him blamed for it — it seems to be universally con- 
sidered a simple act of self-defence. The same thing 
has often occurred with regard to white men taken by 
the Algerines. 

The Poles have shed Russian " blood enough to float 
our navy ; " and we admire and praise them, because 
they did it in resistance of oppression. Yet they have 
suffered less than black slaves, all the world over, are 
suffering. We honor our forefathers because they re- 
belled against certain principles dangerous to political 
freedom ; yet from actual, personal tyranny, they suffered 



nothing : the negro, on the contrary, is suffering all that 
oppression can make human nature suffer. Why do we 
execrate in one set of men, what we laud so highly in 
another ? I shall be reminded that insurrections and mur- 
ders are totally at variance with the precepts of our reli- 
gion ; and this is most true. But according to this rule, 
the Americans, Poles, Parisians, Belgians, and all who 
have shed blood for the sake of liberty, are more to blame 
than the negroes ; for the former are more enlightened, 
and can always have access to the fountain of religion ; 
while the latter are kept in a state of brutal ignorance — 
not allowed to read their Bibles — knowing nothing of 
Christianity, except the examples of their masters, who 
profess to be governed by its maxims. 

I hope I shall not be misunderstood on this point. I 
am not vindicating insurrections and murders ; the very 
thought makes my blood run cold. I believe revenge is 
always wicked ; but I say, what the laws of every country 
acknowledge, that great provocations are a palliation of 
great crimes. When a man steals food because he is 
starving, we are more disposed to pity, than to blame him. 
And what can human nature do, subject to continual and 
oppressive wrong — hopeless of change — not only unpro- 
tected by law, but the law itself changed into an enemy — 
and to complete the whole, shut out from the instructions 
and consolations of the Gospel ! No wonder the West 
Indian missionaries found it very difficult to decide what 
they ought to say to the poor, suffering negroes ! They 
could indeed tell them it was very impolitic to be rash 
and violent, because it could not, under existing circum- 
stances, make their situation better, and would be very 
likely to make it worse ; but if they urged the maxims of 
religion, the slaves might ask the embarrassing question, 
is not our treatment in direct opposition to the precepts 
of the gospel? Our masters can read the Bible — they 
have a chance to know better. Why do not Christians 
deal justly by us, before they require us to deal merci- 
fully with them ? 

Think of all these things, kind-hearted reader. Try 
to judge the negro by the same rules you judge other 
men ; and while you condemn his faults, do not forget 
his manifold provocations. 




" A negro has a soul, an' please your honor," said the Corporal, (doubtiwgly.) 
" I am not much versed, Corporal," quoth my Uncle Toby, " in things of that 
kind ; but I suppose God would not leave him without one, any more than thee 

or me." 

** It would be putting one sadly over the head of the other," quoth the 

" It would so," said my Uncle Toby. 

" Why then, an' please your honor, is a black man to be used worse than a 
white one ?" 

" I can give no reason," said my Uncle Toby. 

" Only," cried the Corporal, shaking his head, " because he has no one to stand 
up for him." 

" It is that very thing, Trim," quoth my Uncle Toby, " which recommends 
him to protection." „ 

While we bestow our earnest disapprobation on the 
system of slavery, let us not flatter ourselves that we are 
in reality any better than our brethren of the South. 
Thanks to our soil and climate, and the early exertions 
of the Quakers, the form of slavery does not exist among 
us ; but the very spirit of the hateful and mischievous 
thing is here in all its strength. The manner in which 
we use what power we have, gives us ample reason to be 
grateful that the nature of our institutions does not intrust 
us with more. Our prejudices against colored people is 
even more inveterate than it is at the South. The plan- 
ter is often attached to his negroes, and lavishes caresses 
and kind words upon them, as he would on a favorite 
hound: but our cold-hearted, ignoble prejudice admits 
of no exception — no intermission. 

The Southerners have long continued habit, apparent 
interest and dreaded danger, to palliate the wrong they 
do ; but we stand without excuse. They tell us that North- 
ern ships and Northern capital have been engaged in this 


wicked business ; and the reproach is true. Several for- 
tunes in this city have been made by the sale of negro blood. 
If these criminal transactions are still carried on, they 
are done in silence and secrecy, because public opinion 
has made them disgraceful. But if the free States wished 
to cherish the system of slavery forever, they could not 
take a more direct course than they now do. Those who 
are kind and liberal on all other subjects, unite with the 
selfish and the proud in their unrelenting efforts to keep 
the colored population in the lowest state of degradation ; 
and the influence they unconsciously exert over children 
early infuses into their innocent minds the same strong 
feelings of contempt. 

The intelligent and well informed have the least share of 
this prejudice ; and when their minds can be brought to 
reflect upon it, I have generally observed that they soon 
cease to have any at all. But such a general apathy pre- 
vails and the subject is so seldom brought into view, that 
few are really aware how oppressively the influence of 
society is made to bear upon this injured class of the 
community. When I have related facts, that came 
under my own observation, I have often been listened to 
with surprise, which gradually increased to indignation. 
In order that my readers may not be ignorant of the ex- 
tent of this tyrannical prejudice, I will as briefly as pos- 
sible state the evidence, and leave them to judge of it, as 
their hearts and consciences may dictate. 

In the first place, an unjust law exists in this Common- 
wealth, by which marriages between persons of different 
color is pronounced illegal. I am perfectly aware of the 
gross ridicule to which I may subject myself by alluding 
to this particular ; but I have lived too long, and observed 
too much, to be disturbed by the world's mockery. In 
the first place, the government ought not to be invested 
with power to control the affections, any more than the 
consciences of citizens. A man has at least as good a 
right to choose his wife, as he has to choose his religion. 
His taste may not suit his neighbors ; but so long as his 
deportment is correct, they have no right to interfere 
with his concerns. In the second place, this law is a 
useless disgrace to Massachusetts. Under existing ch> 



cumstances, none but those whose condition in life is too 
low to be much affected by public opinion, will form such 
alliances ; and they, when they choose to do so, will 
make such marriages, in spite of the law. I know two 
or three instances where women of the laboring class 
have been united to reputable, industrious colored men. 
These husbands regularly bring home their wages, and 
are kind to their families. If by some of the odd 
chances, which not unfrequently occur in the world, their 
wives should become heirs to any property, the children 
may be wronged out of it, because the law pronounces 
them illegitimate. And while this injustice exists with 
regard to honest, industrious individuals, who are merely 
guilty of differing from us in a matter of taste, neither 
the legislation nor customs of slave-holding States exert 
their influence against immoral connexions. 

In one portion of our country this fact is shown in a 
very peculiar and striking manner. There is a numer- 
ous class at New Orleans, called Quateroons, or Quad- 
roons, because their colored blood has for several succes- 
sive generations been intermingled with the white. The 
women are much distinguished for personal beauty and 
gracefulness of motion ; and their parents frequently send 
them to France for the advantages of an elegant education. 
White gentlemen of the first rank are desirous of being 
invited to their parties, and often become seriously in love 
with these fascinating but unfortunate beings. Prejudice 
forbids matrimony, but universal custom sanctions tem- 
porary connexions, to which a certain degree of respec- 
tability is allowed, on account of the peculiar situation of 
the parties. These attachments often continue for 
years — sometimes for life — and instances are notunfre- 
quent of exemplary constancy and great propriety of 

What eloquent vituperations we should pour forth, if 
the contending claims of nature and pride produced such 
a tissue of contradictions in some other country, and 
not in our own ! 

There is another Massachusetts law, which an enlight- 
ened community would not probably suffer to be carried 
into execution under any circumstances ; but it still re- 


mains to disgrace the statutes of this Commonwealth. — 
It is as follows : 

" No African or Negro, other than a subject of the 
Emperor of Morocco, or a citizen of the United States, 
(proved so by a certificate of the Secretary of the State of 
which he is a citizen,) shall tarry within this Common- 
wealth longer than two months ; and on complaint a jus- 
tice shall order him to depart in ten days ; and if he do 
not then, the justice may commit such African or Ne- 
gro to the House of Correction, there to be kept at hard 
labor; and at the next term of the Court of C. P., he 
shall be tried, and if convicted of remaining as aforesaid, 
shall be whipped not exceeding ten lashes ; and if he or 
she shall not then depart such process shall be repeated 
and punishment inflicted tolies quoties." Stat. 1788, 
Ch. 54. 

An honorable Haytian or Brazilian, who visited this 
country for business or information, might come under 
this law, unless public opinion rendered it a mere dead 

There is among the colored people an increasing de- 
sire for information, and a laudable ambition to be 
respectable in manners and appearance. Are we not 
foolish as well as sinful, in trying to repress a tendency 
so salutary to themselves, and so beneficial to the commu- 
nity? Several individuals of this class are very desirous 
to have persons of their own color qualified to teach 
something more than mere reading and writing. But 
in the public schools, colored children are subject to 
many discouragements and difficulties ; and into the pri- 
vate schools they cannot gain admission. A very sensi- 
ble and well-informed colored woman in a neighboring 
town, whose family have been brought up in a manner 
that excited universal remark and approbation, has been 
extremely desirous to obtain for her eldest daughter the 
advantages of a private school; but she has been reso- 
lutely repulsed, on account of her complexion. The girl 
is a very light mulatto, with great modesty and propriety 
of manners ; perhaps no young person in the Common- 
wealth was less likely to have a bad influence on her 
associates. The clergyman respected the family, and 


he remonstrated with the instructer ; but while the lat- 
ter admitted the injustice of the thing, he excused him- 
self by saying such a step would occasion the loss of all 
his white scholars. 

In a town adjoining Boston, a well-behaved colored 
boy was kept out of the public school more than a year, 
by vote of the trustees. His mother, having some in- 
formation herself, knew the importance of knowledge, 
and was anxious to obtain it for her family. She wrote 
repeatedly and urgently ; and the school-master himself 
told me that the correctness of her spelling, and the neat- 
ness of her hand-writing formed a curious contrast with 
the notes he received from many white parents. At last, 
this spirited woman appeared before the committee, and 
reminded them that her husband, having for many years 
paid taxes as a citizen, had a right to the privileges of a 
citizen ; and if her claim were refused, or longer post- 
poned, she declared her determination to seek justice 
from a higher source. The trustees were, of course, 
obliged to yield to the equality of the laws, with the best 
grace they could. The boy was admitted, and made 
good progress in his studies. Had his mother been too 
ignorant to know her rights, or too abject to demand 
them, the lad would have had a fair chance to get a living 
out of the State as the occupant of a workhouse, or pen- 

The attempt to establish a school for African girls at 
Canterbury, Connecticut, has made too much noise to 
need a detailed account in this volume. I do not know 
the lady who first formed the project, but I am told that 
she is a benevolent and religious woman. It certainly is 
difficult to imagine any other motives than good ones, 
for an undertaking so arduous and unpopular. Yet had 
the Pope himself attempted to establish his supremacy 
over that commonwealth, he could hardly have been re- 
pelled with more determined and angry resistance. — 
Town meetings were held, the records of which are not 
highly creditable to the parties concerned. Petitions 
were sent to the Legislature, beseeching that no African 
school might be allowed to admit individuals not re- 
siding in the town where said school was established ; 


and strange to relate, this law, which makes it impossible 
to collect a sufficient number of pupils, was sanctioned 
by the State. A colored girl, who availed herself of this 
opportunity to gain instruction, was warned out of town, 
and fined for not complying ; and the instructress was 
imprisoned for persevering in her benevolent plan. 

It is said, in excuse, that Canterbury will be inundated 
with vicious characters, who will corrupt the morals of 
the young men ; that such a school will break down the 
distinctions between black and white ; and that mar- 
riages between people of different colors will be the prob- 
able result. Yet they seem to assume the ground that 
colored people must always be an inferior and degraded 
class — that the prejudice against them must be eternal; 
being deeply founded in the laws of God and nature. — 
Finally, they endeavored to represent the school as one of 
the incendiary proceedings of the Anti-Slavery Society ; 
and they appeal to the Colonization Society, as an ag- 
grieved child is wont to appeal to its parent. 

The objection with regard to the introduction of vicious 
characters into a village, certainly has some force ; but 
are such persons likely to leave cities for a quiet country 
town, in search of moral and intellectual improvement? 
Is it not obvious that the best portion of the colored class 
are the very ones to prize such an opportunity for in- 
struction? Grant that a large proportion of these unfor- 
tunate people are vicious — is it not our duty, and of 
course our wisest policy, to try to make them other- 
wise ? And what will so effectually elevate their char- 
acter and condition, as knowledge? I beseech you, 
my countrymen, think of these things wisely, and in 

As for intermarriages^ if there be such a repugnance 
between the two races, founded in the laws of nature, 
methinks there is small reason to dread their frequency. 

The breaking down of distinctions in society, by means 
of extended information, is an objection which appropri- 
ately belongs to the Emperor of Austria, or the Sultan of 

I do not know how the affair at Canterbury is generally 
considered ; but I have heard individuals of all parties 


and all opinions speak of it — and never without merri- 
ment or indignation. Fifty years hence, the black laws 
of Connecticut will be a greater source of amusement to 
the antiquarian, than her famous blue laws. 

A similar, though less violent opposition arose in con- 
sequence of the attempt to establish a college for colored 
people at New Haven. A young colored man, who tried 
to obtain education at the Wesleyan college in Middleton, 
was obliged to relinquish the attempt on account of the 
persecution of his fellow students. Some collegians from 
the South objected to a colored associate in their reci- 
tations ; and those from New England promptly and zeal- 
ously joined in the hue and cry. A small but firm party 
were in favor of giving the colored man a chance to pur- 
sue his studies without insult or interruption ; and I am 
told that this manly and disinterested band were all 
Southerners. As for those individuals, who exerted 
their influence to exclude an unoffending fellow-citizen 
from privileges which ought to be equally open to all, it 
is to be hoped that age will make them wiser — and that 
they will learn, before they die, to be ashamed of a step 
attended with more important results than usually belong 
to youthful follies. 

It happens that these experiments have all been made 
in Connecticut; but it is no more than justice to that 
State to remark that a similar spirit would probably have 
been manifested in Massachusetts, under like circum- 
stances. At our debating clubs and other places of pub- 
lic discussion, the demon of prejudice girds himself for 
the battle, the moment negro colleges and high schools 
are alluded to. Alas, while we carry on our lips that 
religion which teaches us to " love our neighbor as our- 
selves,' 5 how little do we cherish its blessed influence 
within our hearts ! How much republicanism we have 
to speak of, and how little do we practise ! 

Let us seriously consider what injury a negro college 
could possibly do us. It is certainly a fair presumption 
that the scholars would be from the better portion of the 
colored population ; and it is an equally fair presumption 
that knowledge would improve their characters. There 
are already many hundreds of colored people in the city 


of Boston. — In the street they generally appear neat and 
respectable ; and in our houses they do not " come be- 
tween the wind and our nobility." Would the addition 
of one or two hundred more even be perceived ? As for 
giving offence to the Southerners by allowing such estab- 
lishments — they have no right to interfere with our 
internal concerns, any more than we have with theirs. — 
Why should they not give up slavery to please us, by the 
same rule that we must refrain from educating the ne- 
groes to please them ? If they are at liberty to do wrong, 
we certainly ought to be at liberty to do right. They 
may talk and publish as much about us as they please ; 
and we ask for no other influence over them. 

It is a fact not generally known that the brave Kosci- 
usko left a fund for the establishment of a negro college 
in the United States. Little did he think he had been 
fighting for a people, who would not grant one rood of 
their vast territory for the benevolent purpose ! 

According to present appearances, a college for col- 
ored persons will be established in Canada ; and thus, by 
means of our foolish and wicked pride, the credit of this 
philanthropic enterprise will be transferred to our mother 

The preceding chapters show that it has been no un- 
common thing for colored men to be educated at English, 
German, Portuguese and Spanish Universities. 

In Boston there is an Infant School, three Primary 
Schools, and a Grammar School. The two last, are I 
believe supported by the public ; and this fact is highly 
creditable. A building for the colored Grammar School 
is not supplied by the city, though such provision is 
always made for similar institutions for white boys. — 
The apartment is close and uncomfortable, and many 
pupils stay away, who would gladly attend under more 
convenient circumstances. There ought likewise to be 
a colored teacher instead of a white one. Under the do- 
minion of existing prejudices, it is difficult to find a white 
man, well qualified to teach such a school, who feels the 
interest he ought to feel, in these Pariahs* of our republic. 

*The Pariahs are the lowest and most degraded caste in Hindos- 
tan. The laws prevent them from ever rising in their condition, 
©r mingling with other castes. 


The parents would repose more confidence in a colored 
instructer ; and he, both from sympathy and pride, would 
be better fitted for his task. 

It is peculiarly incumbent on the city authorities to 
supply a commodious building for the colored grammar 
school, because public prejudice excludes these oppress- 
ed people from all lucrative employments, and they can- 
not therefore be supposed to have ample funds of their 

I was much pleased with the late resolution awarding 
Franklin medals to the colored pupils of the grammar 
school ; and I was still more pleased with the laudable 
project, originated by Josiah Holbrook, Esq. for the es- 
tablishment of a colored Lyceum. Surely a better spirit 
is beginning to work in this cause ; and when once 
begun, the good sense and good feeling of the commu- 
nity will bid it go on and prosper. How much this spirit 
will have to contend with is illustrated by the following 
fact. When President Jackson entered this city, the 
white children of all the schools were sent out in uniform, 
to do him honor. A member of the Committee proposed 
that the pupils of the African schools should be invited 
likewise ; but he was the only one who voted for it. He 
then proposed that the yeas and nays should be recorded ; 
upon which, most of the gentlemen walked off, to pre- 
vent the question from being taken. Perhaps they felt 
an awkward consciousness of the incongeniality of such 
proceedings with our republican institutions. By order 
of the Committee the vacation of the African schools did 
not commence until the day after the procession of the 
white pupils ; and a note to the instructer intimated that 
the pupils were not expected to appear on the Common. 
The reason given was because " their numbers were so 
few ;" but in private conversation, fears were expressed 
lest their sable faces should give offence to our slave- 
holding President. In all probability the sight of the 
colored children would have been agreeable to General 
Jackson, and seemed more like home, than anything he 

In the theatre, it is not possible for respectable colored 
people to obtain a decent seat. They must either be ex- 
cluded, or herd with the vicious. 


A fierce excitement prevailed, not long since, because 
a colored man had bought a pew in one of our churches. 
I heard a very kind-hearted and zealous democrat de- 
clare his opinion that " the fellow ought to be turned 
out by constables, if he dared to occupy the pew he had 
purchased*" Even at the communion-table, the mock- 
ery of human pride is mingled with the worship of Jeho- 
vah. Again and again have I seen a solitary negro come 
up to the altar, meekly and timidly, after all the white 
communicants had retired. One Episcopal clergyman 
of this city, forms an honorable exception to this remark. 

When there is room at the altar, Mr often makes a 

signal to the colored members of his church to kneel be- 
side their white brethren ; and once, when two white 
infants and one colored one were to be baptized, and the 
parents of the latter bashfully lingered far behind the 
others, he silently rebuked the unchristian spirit of pride, 
by first administering the holy ordinance to the little 
dark-skinned child of God. 

An instance of prejudice lately occurred, which I 
should find it hard to believe, did I not positively know it 
to be a fact. A gallery pew was purchased in one of our 
churches for two hundred dollars. A few Sabbaths after, 
an address was delivered at that church, in favor of the 
Africans. Some colored people, who very naturally wish- 
ed to hear the discourse, went into the gallery ; probably 
because they thought they should be deemed less intru- 
sive there than elsewhere. The man who had recently 
bought a pew, found it occupied by colored people, and 
indignantly retired with his family. The next day, he 
purchased a pew in another meeting-house, protesting 
that nothing Would tempt him again to make use of seats, 
that had been occupied by negroes. 

A well known country representative, who makes a very 
loud noise about his democracy, once attended the Cath- 
olic church. A pious negro requested him to take off his 
hat, while he stood in the presence of the Virgin Mary. 
The white man rudely shoved him aside, saying, " You 
son of an Ethiopian, do you dare to speak to me !" I 
more than once heard the hero repeat this story ; and he 
seemed to take peculiar satisfaction in telling it. Had he 



been less ignorant, he would not have chosen " son of an 
Ethiopian" as an ignoble epithet ; to have called the Af- 
rican his own equal would have been abundantly more 
sarcastic. The same republican dismissed a strong, in- 
dustrious colored man, who had been employed on the 
farm during his absence. " I am too great a democrat," 
quoth he, " to have any body in my house, who don't sit 
at my table ; and I'll be hanged, if I ever eat with the 
son of an Ethiopian." 

Men whose education leaves them less excuse for such 
illiberality, are yet vulgar enough to join in this ridiculous 
prejudice. The colored woman, whose daughter has 
been mentioned as excluded from a private school, was 
once smuggled into a stage, upon the supposition that she 
was a white woman, with a sallow complexion. Her 
manners were modest and prepossessing, and the gentle- 
men were very polite to her. But when she stopped at 
her own door, and was handed out by her curly-headed 
husband, they were at once surprised and angry to find 
they had been riding with a mulatto — and had, in 
their ignorance, been really civil to her ! 

A worthy colored woman, belonging to an adjoining 
town, wished to come into Boston to attend upon a son, 
who was ill. She had a trunk with her, and was too 
feeble to walk. She begged permission to ride in the 
stage. But the passengers with noble indignation, de- 
clared they would get out, if she were allowed to get in. 
After much entreaty, the driver suffered her to sit by 
him upon the box. When he entered the city, his com- 
rades began to point and sneer. Not having sufficient 
moral courage to endure this, he left the poor woman, 
with her trunk, in the middle of the street, far from the 
place of her destination ; telling her, with an oath, that 
he would not carry her a step further. 

A friend of mine, lately wished to have a colored girl 
admitted into the stage with her, to take care of her 
babe. The girl was very lightly tinged with the sable 
hue, had handsome Indian features, and very pleasing 
manners. It was, however, evident that she was not 
white ; and therefore the passengers objected to her 
company. This of course, produced a good deal of in- 


convenience on one side, and mortification on the other. 
My friend repeated the circumstance to a lady, who, as 
the daughter and wife of a clergyman, might be supposed 
to have imbibed some liberality. The lady seemed to 
think the experiment was very preposterous ; but when 
my friend alluded to the mixed parentage of the girl, she 
exclaimed, with generous enthusiasm, " Oh, that alters 
the case, Indians certainly have their rights." 

Every year a colored gentleman and scholar is becom- 
ing less and less of a rarity — thanks to the existence of 
the Haytian Republic, and the increasing liberality of 
the world ! Yet if a person of refinement from Hayti, 
Brazil, or other countries, which we deem less enlight- 
ened than our own, should visit us, the very boys of this 
republic would dog his footsteps with the vulgar outcry of 
" Nigger ! Nigger !" I have known this to be done, from 
no other provocation than the sight of a colored man 
with the dress and deportment of a gentleman. Were 
it not that republicanism, like Christianity, is often per- 
verted from its true spirit by the bad passions of mankind, 
such things as these would make every honest mind dis- 
gusted with the very name of republics. 

I am acquainted with a gentleman from Brazil who is 
shrewd, enterprising, noble-spirited, and highly respect- 
able in character and manners ; yet he has experienced 
almost every species of indignity on account of his color. 
Not long since, it became necessary for him to visit the 
southern shores of Massachusetts, to settle certain ac- 
counts connected with his business. His wife was in a 
feeble state of health, and the physicians had recom- 
mended a voyage. For this reason, he took passage for 
her with himself in the steam-boat; and the captain, as 
it appears, made no objection to a colored gentleman's 

money. After remaining on deck some time, Mrs 

attempted to pass into the cabin ; but the captain pre- 
vented her ; saying, "You must go down forward.'' — 
The Brazilian urged that he had paid the customary 
price, and therefore his wife and infant had a right to a 
place in the ladies' cabin. The captain answered, 
" Your wife a'n't a lady ; she is a nigger." The forward 
cabin was occupied by sailors; was entirely without 



accommodations for women, and admitted the sea- 
water, so that a person could not sit in it comfortably with- 
out keeping the feet raised in a chair. The husband 
stated that his wife's health would not admit of such ex- 
posure ; to which the captain still replied, " I don't allow 
any niggers in my cabin. " With natural and honest in- 
dignation, the Brazilian exclaimed, " You Americans 
talk about the Poles ! You are a great deal more Russian 
than the Russians." The affair was concluded by 
placing the colored gentleman and his invalid wife on the 
shore, and leaving them to provide for themselves as they 
could. Had the cabin been full, there would have been 
some excuse ; but it was occupied only by two sailors' 
wives. The same individual sent for a relative in a distant 
town on account of illness in his family. After staying 
several weeks, it became necessary for her to return ; 
and he procured a seat for her in the stage. The same 
ridiculous scene occurred ; the passengers were afraid of 
losing their dignity by riding with a neat, respectable 
person, whose face was darker than their own. No pub- 
lic vehicle could be obtained, by which a colored citizen 
could be conveyed to her home ; it therefore became 
absolutely necessary for the gentleman to leave his busi- 
ness and hire a chaise at great expense. Such proceed- 
ings are really inexcusable. No authority can be found 
for them in religion, reason, or the laws. 

The Bible informs us that " a man of Ethiopia, an 
eunuch of great authority under Candace, Queen of the 
Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure, came to 
Jerusalem to worship." Returning in his chariot, he 
read Esaias, the Prophet; and at his request Phillip went 
up into the chariot and sat with him, explaining the 
Scriptures. Where should we now find an apostle, who 
would ride in the same chariot with an Ethiopian ! 

Will any candid person tell me why respectable colored 
people should not be allowed to make use of public con- 
veyances, open to all who are able and willing to pay 
for the privilege ? Those who enter a vessel, or a stage- 
coach, cannot expect to select their companions. If 
they can afford to take a carriage or boat for themselves, 
then, and then only, they have a right to be exclusive. I 


was lately talking with a young gentleman on this sub- 
ject, who professed to have no prejudice against colored 
people, except so far as they were ignorant and vulgar ; 
but still he could not tolerate the idea of allowing them 
to enter stages and steam-boats. " Yet, you allow the 
same privilege to vulgar and ignorant white men, with- 
out a murmur," I replied • " Pray give a good republican 
reason why a respectable colored citizen should be less 
favored." For want of a better argument, he said — 
(pardon me, fastidious reader) — he implied that the pres- 
ence of colored persons was less agreeable than Otto of 
Rose, or Eau de Cologne ; and this distinction, he urged 
was made by God himself. I answered, " Whoever 
takes his chance in a public vehicle, is liable to meet 
with uncleanly white passengers, whose breath may be 
redolent with the fumes of American cigars, or American 
gin. Neither of these articles have a fragrance peculiarly 
agreeable to nerves of delicate organization. Allowing 
your argument double the weight it deserves, it is utter 
nonsense to pretend that the inconvenience in the case I 
have supposed is not infinitely greater. But what is more 
to the point, do you dine in a fashionable hotel, do you sail 
in a fashionable steam-boat, do you sup at a fashionable 
house, without having negro servants behind your chair. 
Would they be any more disagreeable, as passengers 
seated in the corner of a stage, or a steam-boat, than 
as waiters in such immediate attendance upon your 

Stage-drivers are very much perplexed when they at- 
tempt to vindicate the present tyrannical customs; and 
they usually give up the point, by saying they themselves 
have no prejudice against colored people — they are 
merely afraid of the public. But stage-drivers should re- 
member that in a popular government, they, in common 
with every other citizen, form a part and portion of the 
dreaded public. 

The gold was never coined for which I would. barter 
my individual freedom of acting and thinking upon any 
subject, or knowingly interfere with the rights of the 
meanest fearnari being. The only true courage is that 
which impels us to do right without regard toconsequen- 


ces. To fear a populace is as servile as to fear an empe- 
ror. The only salutary restraint is the fear of doing 

Our representatives to Congress have repeatedly rode 
in a stage with colored servants at the request of their 
masters. Whether this is because New Englanders are 
willing to do out of courtesy to a Southern gentleman, 
what they object to doing from justice to a colored citi- 
zen, — or whether those representatives, being educated 
men, were more than usually divested of this absurd pre- 
judice, — I will not pretend to say. 

The state of public feeling not only makes it difficult 
for the Africans to obtain information, but it prevents 
them from making profitable use of what knowledge 
they have. A colored man, however intelligent, is not 
allowed to pursue any business more lucrative than that 
of a barber, a shoe-black, or a waiter. These, and all 
other employments, are truly respectable, whenever the 
duties connected with them are faithfully performed ; 
but it is unjust that a man should, on account of his com- 
plexion, be prevented from performing more elevated 
uses in society. Every citizen ought to have a fair 
chance to try his fortune in any line of business, which 
he thinks he has ability to transact. Why should not 
colored men be employed in the manufactories of various 
kinds? If their ignorance is an objection, let them be 
enlightened, as speedily as possible. If their moral char- 
acter is not sufficiently pure, remove the pressure of pub- 
lic scorn, and thus supply them with motives for being 
respectable. All this can be done. It merely requires 
an earnest wish to overcome a prejudice, which has 
" grown with our growth and strengthened with our 
strength/' but which is in fact opposed to the spirit of 
our religion, and contrary to the instinctive good feel- 
ings of our nature. When examined by the clear light 
of reason, it disappears. Prejudices of all kinds have 
their strongest holds in the minds of the vulgar and the 
ignorant. In a community so enlightened as our own, 
they must gradually melt away under the influence of 
public discussion. There is no want of kind feelings 
and liberal sentiments in the American people ; the sim- 


pie fact is, they have not thought upon this subject. — 
An active and enterprising community are not apt to 
concern themselves about laws and customs, which do 
not obviously interfere with their interests or convenience ; 
and various political and prudential motives have com- 
bined to fetter free inquiry in this direction. Thus we 
have gone on, year after year, thoughtlessly sanctioning, 
by our silence and indifference, evils which our hearts 
and consciences are far enough from approving. 

It has been shown that no other people on earth in- 
dulge so strong a prejudice with regard to color, as we 
do. It is urged that negroes are civilly treated in Eng- 
land, because their numbers are so few. I could never 
discover any great force in this argument. Colored peo- 
ple are certainly not sufficiently rare in that country to 
be regarded as a great show, like a giraffe, or a Sand- 
wich Island king; and on the other hand, it would seem 
natural that those who were more accustomed to the sight 
of dark faces would find their aversion diminished gather 
than increased. 

The absence of prejudice in the Portuguese and Span- 
ish settlements is accounted for, by saying that the 
white people are very little superior to the negroes in 
knowledge and refinement. But Doctor Walsh's book 
certainly gives us no reason to think meanly of the Bra- 
zilians ; and it has been my good fortune to be acquaint- 
ed with many highly intelligent South Americans, who 
were divested of this prejudice, and much surprised at 
its existence here. 

If the South Americans are really in such a low state 
as the argument implies, it is a still greater disgrace to 
us to be outdone in liberality and consistent republican- 
ism by men so much less enlightened than ourselves. 

Pride will doubtless hold out with strength and adroit- 
ness against the besiegers of its fortress ; but it is an ob- 
vious truth that the condition of the world is rapidly im- 
proving, and that our laws and customs must change 
with it. 

Neither ancient nor modern history furnishes a page 
more glorious than the last twenty years in England ; for 
at every step, free principles, after a long and arduous 


struggle, have conquered selfishness and tyranny. Al- 
most all great evils are resisted by individuals who di- 
rectly suffer injustice or inconvenience from them ; but 
it is a peculiar beauty of the abolition cause that its de- 
fenders enter the lists against wealth, and power, and 
talent, not to defend their own rights, but to protect weak 
and injured neighbors, who are not allowed to speak for 

Those, who become interested in a cause laboring so 
heavily under the pressure of present unpopularity, must 
expect to be assailed by every form of bitterness and so- 
phistry. At times, discouraged and heart-sick, they 
will perhaps begin to doubt whether there are in reality 
any unalterable principles of right and wrong. But let 
them cast aside the fear of man, and keep their minds 
fixed on a few of the simple, unchangeable laws of God, 
and they will certainly receive strength to contend with 
the adversary. 

Paragraphs in the Southern papers already begin to 
imply that the United States will not look tamely on, 
while England emancipates her slaves ; and they inform 
us that the inspection of the naval stations has become 
a subject of great importance since the recent measures 
of the British Parliament. A republic declaring war 
with a monarchy, because she gave freedom to her slaves, 
would indeed form a beautiful moral picture for the ad- 
miration of the world ! 

Mr Garrison was the first person who dared to edit a 
newspaper, in which slavery was spoken of as altogether 
wicked and inexcusable. For this crime the Legislature 
of Georgia have offered five thousand dollars to any one 
who will " arrest and prosecute him to conviction under 
the laws of that State." An association of gentlemen 
in South Carolina have likewise offered a large reward 
for the same object- It is, to say the least, a very 
remarkable step for one State in this Union to promul- 
gate such a law concerning a citizen of another State, 
merely for publishing his opinions boldly. The disciples 
of Fanny Wright promulgate the most zealous and viru- 
lent attacks upon Christianity, without any hindrance 
from the civil authorities ; and this is done upon the 


truly rational ground that individual freedom of opinion 
ought to be respected — that what is false cannot stand, 
and what is true cannot be overthrown. We leave Chris- 
tianity to take care of itself; but slavery is a " delicate 
subject," — and whoever attacks that must be punished. 
Mr Garrison is a disinterested, intelligent, and remark- 
ably pure-minded man, whose only fault is that he 
cannot be moderate on a subject which it is exceedingly 
difficult for an honest mind to examine with calmness. 
Many, who highly respect his character, and motives, 
regret his tendency to use wholesale and unqualified 
expressions ; but it is something to have the truth told, 
even if it be not in the most judicious way. Where an 
evil is powerfully supported by the self-interest and 
prejudice of the community, none but an ardent indi- 
vidual will venture to meddle with it. Luther was 
deemed indiscreet even by those who liked him best ; 

yet a more prudent man wuuH novor havo given an 
impetus sufficiently powerful to heave tk© great mae~ 
of corruption under whioh tho church was buried Mr 
Garrison has certainly the merit of having first called 
public attention to a neglected and very important sub- 
ject. I believe whoever fairly and dispassionately exam- 
ines the question, will be more than disposed to forgive 
the occasional faults of an ardent temperament, in con- 
sideration of the difficulty of the undertaking, and the 
violence with which it has been opposed. 

The palliator of slavery assures the abolitionists that 
their benevolence is perfectly quixotic — that the negroes 
are happy and contented, and have no desire to change 
their lot. An answer to this may, as I have already said, 
be found in the Judicial Reports of slave-holding States, 
in the vigilance of their laws, in advertisements for run- 
away slaves, and in the details of their own newspapers. 
The West India planters make the same protestations 
concerning the happiness of their slaves ; yet the cruel- 
ties proved by undoubted and unanswerable testimony 
are enough to break a compassionate heart. It is said 
that slavery is a great deal worse in the West Indies than 
in the United States ; but I believe precisely the re- 
verse of this proposition has been true within late years; 
for the English government have been earnestly trying to 


atone for their guilt, by the introduction of laws express- 
ly framed to guard the weak and defenceless. A gentle- 
man who has been a great deal among the planters of 
both countries, and who is by no means favorable to 
anti-slavery, gives it as his decided opinion that the 
slaves are better off in the West Indies, than they are in 
the United States. It is true we hear a great deal more 
about West Indian cruelty than we do about our own. — 
English books and periodicals are continually full of the 
subject; and even in the colonies, newspapers openly de- 
nounce the hateful system, and take every opportunity to 
prove the amount of wretchedness it produces. In this 
country, we have not, until very recently, dared to pub- 
lish anything upon the subject. Our books, our re- 
views, our newspapers, our almanacs, have all been si- 
lent, or exerted their influence on the wrong side. The 
negro's crimes are repeated, but his sufferings are never 
told. Ev«n moar g^^gx ctpliies it. is taught that the col* 
©red rae« w^ always be degraded* Now m^thuiran- 
ecdates of cruelties committed in the slave-holding States 
are to'ld by individuals who witnessed them ; but they are 
almost always afraid to give their names to the public, 
because the Southerners will call them " a disgrace to 
the soil," and the Northerners will echo the sentiment. — 
The promptitude and earnestness with which New Eng- 
land has aided the slave-holders in repressing all discus- 
sions which they were desirous to avoid, has called forth 
many expressions of gratitude in their public speeches, 
and private conversation ; and truly we have well earned 
Kandolph's favorite appellation, " the white slaves of 
the North," by our tameness and servility with regard to 
a subject where good feeling and good principle alike 
demanded a firm and independent spirit. 

We are told that the Southerners will of themselves do 
away slavery, and they alone understand how to do it. — 
But it is an obvious fact that all their measures have tend- 
ed to perpetuate the system ; and even if we have the 
fullest faith that they mean to do their duty, the belief 
by no means absolves us from doing ours. The evil is 
gigantic ; and its removal requires every heart and head 
in the community. 


It is said that our sympathies ought to be given to the 
masters, who are abundantly more to be pitied than the 
slaves. If this be the case, the planters are singularly 
disinterested not to change places with their bondmen. 
Our sympathies have been given to the masters — and to 
those masters who seemed most desirous to remain for- 
ever in their pitiable condition. There are hearts at the 
South sincerely desirous of doing right in this cause ; 
but their generous impulses are checked by the laws of 
their respective States, and the strong disapprobation of 
their neighbors. I know a lady in Georgia, who would, 
I believe, make any personal sacrifice to instruct her 
slaves, and give them freedom; but if she were found 
guilty of teaching the a!phabet,or manumitting her slaves, 
fines and imprisonment would be the consequence ; if 
she sold them, they would be likely to fall into hands less 
merciful than her own. Of such slave-owners we can- 
not speak with too much respect and tenderness. They 
are comparatively few in number, and stand in a most per- 
plexing situation ; it is a duty to give all our sympathy to 
them. It is mere mockery to say, what is so often said, 
that the Southerners, as a body, really wish to abolish 
slavery. If they wished it, they certainly would make 
the attempt. When the majority heartily desire a change, 
it is effected, be the difficulties what they may. The 
Americans are peculiarly responsible for the example 
they give ; for in no other country does the unchecked 
voice of the people constitute the whole of government. 

We must not be induced to excuse slavery by the plau- 
sible argument that England introduced it among us. — 
The wickedness of beginning such a work unquestiona- 
bly belongs to her ; the sin of continuing it is certainly 
our own. It is true that Virginia, while a province, did 
petition the British government to check the introduc- 
tion of slaves into the colonies ; and their refusal to do 
so was afterward enumerated among the public reasons 
for separating from the mother country : but it is equally 
true that when we became independent, the Southern 
States stipulated that the slave trade should not be abol- 
ished by law until 1808. 

The strongest and best reason that can be given for 

228 tmtt duties 

our supineness on the subject of slavery, is the feai* of 
dissolving the Union. The Constitution of the United 
States demands our highest reverence^. Those who ap- 
prove, and those who disapprove of particular portions, 
are equally bound to yield implicit obedience to its au- 
thority. But we must not forget that the Constitution 
provides for any change that may be required for the 
general good. The great machine is constructed with a 
safety valve, by which any rapidly increasing evil may 
be expelled whenever the people desire it 

If the Southern politicians are determined to make a 
Siamese question of this also — if they insist that the Union 
shall not exist without slavery *— it can only be said that 
they join two things, which have no affinity with each 
other, and which cannot permanently exist together. — 
They chain the living and vigorous to the diseased and 
dying ; and the former will assuredly perish in the infect- 
ed neighborhood. 

The universal introduction of free labor is the surest 
way to consolidate the Union, and enable us to live to- 
gether in harmony and peace. If a history is ever writ- 
ten entitled " The Decay and Dissolution of the North 
American Republic," its author will distinctly trace our 
downfall to the existence of slavery among us. 

There is hardly anything bad, in politics or religion, 
that has not been sanctioned or tolerated by a suffer- 
ing community, because certain powerful individuals 
were able to identify the evil with some other principle 
long consecrated to the hearts and consciences of men. 

Under all circumstances, there is but one honest 
course ; and that is to do right, and trust the consequen- 
ces to Divine Providence. " Duties are ours ; events 
are God's." Policy, with all her cunning, can devise no 
rule so safe, salutary, and effective, as this simple maxim. 
We cannot too cautiously examine arguments and 
excuses brought forward by those whose interest or 
convenience is connected with keeping their fellow crea- 
tures in a state of ignorance and brutality ; and such we 
shall find in abundance, at the North as well as the 
South. I have heard the abolition of slavery condemned 
on the ground that New England vessels would not be 


employed to export the produce of the South, if they had 
free laborers of their own. This objection is so utterly 
bad in its spirit, that it hardly deserves an answer. As- 
suredly it is a righteous plan to retard the progress of 
liberal principles, and " keep human nature forever in the 
stocks " that some individuals may make a few hundred 
dollars more per annum ! Besides, the experience of the 
world abundantly proves that all such forced expedients 
are unwise. The increased prosperity of one country, 
or of one section of a country, always contributes, in 
some form or other, to the prosperity of other states. — 
To "love our neighbor as ourselves" is, after all, the 
shrewdest way of doing business. 

In England, the abolition of the traffic was long and 
stoutly resisted, in the same spirit, and by the same ar- 
guments, that characterize the defence of the system 
here ; but it would now be difficult to find a man so reck- 
less, that he would not be ashamed of being called a slave 
dealer. Public opinion has nearly conquered one evil, 
and if rightly directed, it will ultimately subdue the 

Is it asked what can be done ? I answer, much, very 
much, can be effected, if each individual will try to de- 
serve the commendation bestowed by our Saviour on the 
woman of old — " She hath done what she could." 

The Quakers, — always remarkable for fearless obe- 
dience to the inward light of conscience, — early gave 
an example worthy of being followed. At their annual 
meeting in Pennsylvania, in 1688, many individuals 
urged the incompatibility of slavery, and Christianity ; 
and their zeal continued until, in 1776, all Quakers who 
bought or sold a slave, or refused to emancipate those 
they already owned, were excluded from communion 
with the society. Had it not been for the early exer- 
tions of these excellent people, the fair and flourishing 
State of Pennsylvania might now, perchance, be with- 
ering under the effects of slavery. To this day, the 
Society of Friends, both in England and America, omit 
no opportunity, public or private, of discountenancing 
this bad system ; and the Methodists (at least in Eng- 
land) have earnestly labored in the same glorious cause. 



The famous Anthony Benezet, a duaker in Philadel- 
phia, has left us a noble example of what may be done 
for conscience' sake. Being a teacher, he took effectual 
care that his scholars should have ample knowledge and 
christian impressions concerning the nature of slavery ; 
he caused articles to be inserted in the almanacs likely 
to arrest public attention upon the subject ; he talked 
about it, and wrote letters about it ; he published and 
distributed tracts at his own expense ; if any person was 
going a journey, his first thought was how he could make 
him instrumental in favor of his benevolent purposes ; 
he addressed a petition to the Queen for the suppression 
of the slave-trade ; and another to the good Countess of 
Huntingdon beseeching that the rice and indigo planta- 
tions belonging to the orphan-house, which she had en- 
dowed near Savannah, in Georgia, might not be cultivated 
by those who encouraged the slave trade ; he took care to 
increase the comforts and elevate the character of the 
colored people within his influence ; he zealously pro- 
moted the establishment of an African school, and 
devoted much of the two last years of his life to personal 
attendance upon his pupils. By fifty years of constant 
industry he had amassed a small fortune ; and this was 
left, after the decease of his widow, to the support of the 
African school. 

Similar exertions, though on a less extensive scale, 
were made by the late excellent John Kenrick, of Newton, 
Mass. For more than thirty years the constant object 
of his thoughts, and the chief purpose of his life, was 
the abolition of slavery. His earnest conversation arous- 
ed many other minds to think and act upon the subject. 
He wrote letters, inserted articles in the newspapers, 
gave liberal donations, and circulated pamphlets at his 
own expense. 

Cowper contributed much to the cause when he wrote 
the " Negro's Complaint," and thus excited the compas- 
sion of his numerous readers. Wedgewood aided the 
work, when he caused cameos to be struck, representing 
a kneeling African in chains, and thus made even capri- 
cious fashion an avenue to the heart. Clarkson assisted 
by patient investigation of evidence ; and Fox and Wil- 


berforce by eloquent speeches. Mungo Park gave his 
powerful influence by the kind and liberal manner in 
which he always represented the Africans. The Duch- 
ess of Devonshire wrote verses and caused them to be 
set to music ; and wherever those lines were sung, some 
hearts were touched in favor of the oppressed. This 
fascinating woman made even her far-famed beauty 
serve in the cause of benevolence. Fox was returned for 
Parliament through her influence, and she is said to 
have procured more than one vote, by allowing the yeo- 
manry of England to kiss her beautiful cheek. 

All are not able to do so much as Anthony Benezet and 
John Kenrick have done ; but we can all do something. 
We can speak kindly and respectfully of colored people 
upon all occasions ; we can repeat to our children such 
traits as are honorable in their character and history ; 
we can avoid making odious caricatures of negroes; we 
can teach boys that it is unmanly and contemptible to 
insult an unfortunate class of people by the vulgar outcry 
of " Nigger ! — Nigger !" — Even Mahmoud of Turkey 
rivals us in liberality — for he long ago ordered a fine to 
be levied upon those who called a Christian a dog ; and 
in his dominions the prejudice is so great that a Christian 
must be a degraded being. A residence in Turkey 
might be profitable to those Christians who patronize the 
eternity of prejudice ; it would afford an opportunity of 
testing the goodness of the rule, by showing how it works 
both ways. 

If we are not able to contribute to African schools, or 
do not choose to do so, we can at least refrain from op- 
posing them. If it be disagreeable to allow colored 
people the same rights and privileges as other citizens, 
we can do with our prejudice, what most of us often do 
with better feelings — we can conceal it. 

Our almanacs and newspapers can fairly show both 
sides of the question ; and if they lean to either party, 
let it not be to the strongest. Our preachers can speak 
of slavery, as they do of other evils. Our poets can find 
in this subject abundant room for sentiment and pathos. 
Our orators (provided they do not want office) may ven- 
ture an allusion to our in-" glorious institutions." 


The union of individual influence produces a vast 
amount of moral force, which is not the less powerful 
because it is often unperceived. A mere change in the 
direction of our efforts, without any increased exertion, 
would in the course of a few years, produce an entire 
revolution of public feeling. This slow but sure way of 
doing good is almost the only means by which benevo- 
lence can effect its purpose. 

Sixty thousand petitions have been addressed to the 
English parliament on the subject of slavery, and a large 
number of them were signed by women. The same 
steps here would be, with one exception, useless and 
injudicious; because the general government has no con- 
trol over the legislatures of individual States. But the 
District of Columbia forms an exception to this rule. — 
There the United States have power to abolish slavery ; 
and it is the duty of the citizens to petition year after 
year, until a reformation is effected. But who will pre- 
sent remonstrances against slavery 1 The Hon. John Q. 
Adams was intrusted with fifteen petitions for the aboli- 
tion of slavery in the District of Columbia ; yet, clearly 
as that gentleman sees and defines the pernicious effects 
of the system, he offered the petitions only to protest 
against them ! Another petition to the same effect, 
intrusted to another Massachusetts representative, was 
never noticed at all. " Brutus is an honorable man : — 
So are they all — all honorable men.' J Nevertheless, 
there is, in this popular government, a subject on which it 
is impossible for the people to make themselves heard. 

By publishing this book I have put my mite into the 
treasury. The expectation of displeasing all classes has 
not been unaccompanied with pain. But it has been 
strongly impressed upon my mind that it was a duty to 
fulfil this task ; and earthly considerations should never 
stifle the voice of conscience. 


Page 110, lines 4 and 5 from top 7 for u direct taxes in pro- 
portion to slave representation/ 7 read slave representation 
with a proportional increase of direct taxes. 

Page 143 ; 6th line from bottom, for " do no more harm/ 7 
read " do more harm. 77 







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